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Give de-allocated mines to 12th Plan projects: Power Ministry

Siddhartha P. Saikia
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Power Minister Veerappa Moily
Power Minister Veerappa Moily

Will petition Coal Ministry

The Power Ministry proposes to ask the Coal Ministry to de-allocate the captive coal blocks from projects that have not progressed to those that will be commissioned during the 12th Five-Year Plan period.

This comes at a time when the Inter-Ministerial Group is reviewing progress and de-allocation of coal blocks awarded to private power, steel, sponge iron and cement companies. The Power Ministry is working out the number of such projects where this block re-jig can be done.

“We are going to take it up with the Coal Ministry. It is permitted legally,” Minister for Corporate Affairs and Power M. Veerappa Moily told Business Line. But this proposal may clash with the Coal Ministry practice of handing over de-allocated blocks to public sector miner Coal India.

Explaining the need to take such a step, Moily said that coal will have to be lined up for meeting the ambitious target of 12th Plan and desired GDP growth.

“We have added around 54,000 MW in the previous Plan. To keep up the tempo, we have to see which projects need to be synchronised by end of the 12th Plan. And I am also sub-dividing it into projects which are coming up by 2013. To that extent, we may de-allocate and also re-allocate depending on priority of synchronisation,” the Minister said.

The new capacity addition target during the 12th Plan period has been fixed at 88,425 MW. The Government has not planned any natural gas-based projects in the new Plan period because of non-availability of domestic gas.

Of the 195 captive blocks allocated between 1993 and 2011, 79 mines have been given to private and public sector power companies.

An Inter-Ministerial Group (IMG), headed by Additional Secretary at Coal Ministry Zohra Chatterji has recommended de-allocation of four blocks given to three private companies. The panel is again meeting on Friday to take up more cases. Currently, IMG is reviewing 29 captive coal blocks awarded to private companies.

Growth impact

“This year (2012-13), the capacity addition should not be less than 20,000 MW. Ultimately, it has an impact on GDP. If we have eight per cent growth in the power sector, then GDP will touch nine per cent. We cannot withhold decisions to achieve this growth,” Moily said.

India added 950 MW of new capacity in July against a target of 1,050 MW. Nearly, 1,660 MW of new capacity was added in July 2011. The country has total 2,064,56.04 MW of installed capacity. Out of this 1,17,283.38 MW is based on coal.

siddhartha.s@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on September 13, 2012)
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