Coal allocation to State depends on availability: Centre

Ktaka has sought 58.30 m tonne for six thermal power projects

“As over 200 coal blocks in the country are struck due to the ‘no-go-area’ restriction imposed by the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF), the state’s request has been put on hold till the issue is sorted out,” Union Minister for Coal Sriprakash Jaiswal told Deccan Herald.

He said his ministry would give top priority to public sector companies while allotting coal as soon as its blocks got the green signal from the MoEF.
Karnataka has sought allocation of about 58.30 million tonne per annum coal from the

Coal Ministry for its proposed six thermal power projects to be set up over four to five years. As the state government is planning to add a capacity of 10,900 MW to meet its power demand, the state has been nervous to get concrete assurances from the centre on the allocation of coal. Due to the delay in allocation of coal, state government’s power utilities are not a position to seal pact on financial closure with developers for these projects.

Currently, Karnataka’s coal requirement is 80 lakh tonne per annum of which 14 lakh tonne is being imported and the rest supplied by Coal India, a public sector under the Coal Ministry.

The coal ministry is struggling to MoEF’s clearances as the latter had imposed ban on mining on 203 coal blocks in coal-rich areas.  Besides, a Group of Ministers (GoM) headed by Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, which is framing a new policy for allotting coal blocks for fresh projects, is yet to take a final decision over the move.

Following pressure from several states to allot coal blocks to their power projects, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has called a meeting of all stakeholder ministries on June 7 to resolve issues of coal on a fast-track basis.

Apart from Jaiswal, the meeting is expected to be attended by Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh, Power Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde and Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia.

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