Chandigarh: Punjab power utility PSPCL is looking to retain Pachwara central coal block for meeting fuel requirements for its thermal power plants and has applied for this coal block, which is one of the 53 reserved for state-run power utilities.
"We have applied for Pachwara central coal block and we are hoping that this block will be allotted to us as we have been using to its full capacity for our own plants," a senior official of Punjab State Power Corporation Ltd (PSPCL) said.
Pachwara central coal block located in Pakur district of Jharkhand was earlier allotted to erstwhile Punjab State Electricity Board in 2002. The mine is currently being operated by Panem coal mines. PSPCL, formerly known as Punjab State Electricity Board, had entered into an agreement with Eastern Minerals & Trading Agency (EMTA) to form a JV company Panem Coal Mines for development and operation of coal mine in 2001 while coal purchase agreement (CPA) was signed between PSEB and Panem in 2006.
State owned PSPCL's three coal-fired power generating units Lehra Mohabbat, Bathinda and Ropar with combined power generation capacity of 2,640 MW are getting about 7 million tonne of coal from Panem coal mines out of total annual requirement of 13.6 MT.
Rest of coal comes from Central Coalfields Ltd (CCL), a subsidiary of Coal India Ltd. However, the Supreme Court in September last year canceled mining licences of over 200 coal blocks. PSPCL official said as many as 53 coal blocks have been reserved by the Centre for state-owned power utilities or companies for direct allotment. "We are hoping that this allotment process may be over by the first week of March," he said.
PSPCL has already deposited fine amounting to Rs 391 crore as penalty levied by Supreme Court which had imposed at the rate of Rs 295 per tonne of coal used. "We have deposited fine of Rs 391 crore which is as per 26 per cent share in Panem Coal mines," he said.
The total fine as per SC order was worked out at Rs 1,505 crore, he said. PSPCL has also decided to change the mine developer cum operator (MDO) once it is allotted the Pachwara coal block. "We will be replacing MDO after we are allotted the coal block," he said. PSPCL has been facing coal supply issue with Panem Coal mines for more than last one year.
In the aggregate revenue requirement submitted with the power regulator PSERC, power utility had pointed out that the "short supplies" of coal by Panem coal mines had caused "depletion in its coal stock" at its plants that led to decrease in power generation.