Inquiry ordered into coal buy

Judicial commission to probe transportation, washing since 2002

 
The fuel required for generation of power at Raichur Thermal Power Station (RTPS), was brought to Raichur through a circuitous route, covering both rail and sea routes.

The State government has expressed surprise over the expenditure on the transportation of the fuel. In its terms of reference for the inquiry, the Government has ordered the judicial commission to probe into the purchase of coal between 2002 and 2009. The commission is headed by retired Karnataka High Court judge Justice V P Mohan Kumar.

The Government has asked if coal could have been brought directly by rail to Raichur. The commission has been asked to find those responsible for the loss.

The Government appointed the commission for inquiry following the JD(S)’ allegations of corruption in coal purchases. All the three major political parties - the Congress, the JD(S) and the BJP - were in power between 2002 and 2009.

The RTPS in Raichur requires about 23,000 tonnes of coal every day.
The State government has been procuring coal from Singareni Collieries Company Ltd, Andhra Pradesh, Western Coalfields Ltd in Maharashtra, Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd, Talcher in Orissa and South Eastern Coalfields Ltd, Chattisgarh.

Of the 74.55-lakh tonne coal procured by the State government in 2006-07, 15.09 lakh tonnes was from Mahanadi Coalfields in Talcher.

Coal washing

The commission will also look into money spent on washing coal. On an average, Rs 500 crore was spent per year to wash coal.

As per the regulations issued by Ministry of Environment and Forestry power stations should use coal with ash content less than 34 per cent. In order to follow this the KPCL has set up washeries at coalfields, from where it is procuring coal.

The Government has asked the commission to inquire whether it was required to spend so much on coal washing.

Purchase of 500 power transformers at a cost of Rs 844 crore from 2006-07 will also be probed by the commission.

The commission has been granted three-month time to file its report.

Changes 

Energy Minister K S Eshwarappa said the KPCL had brought in changes in procuring coal for power generation.

Earlier coal from Orissa was transported on a long route, involving both ship and train routes which caused huge burden to the State exchequer.

“Now, we are bringing coal only through rail route. Besides, we have taken some measures to reduce expenditure on washing of coal,” he said.

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