Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, Sep 24:
Even as the Supreme Court cancelled all the 32 coal blocks allocated in the state, the Odisha government today put up a brave face claiming that the decision will have no immediate impact on power generation sector in the state. It, however, did admit that the long term impact on the power sector will have to be assessed.
“I don’t think that there would be any immediate impact of the apex court order in the state, particularly the power sector. NTPC, OPGC and other independent power producers are already running on linked coal supplies. So, there will be no immediate impact and we would be able to provide power to the consumers in the state,” said Odisha Energy minister Pranab Prakash Das.
The minister, however, said that the department would assess the long term impact of the cancellation as many companies have invested in the power sector in the state.
The Ministry of Coal had allocated 32 coal blocks in all for captive consumption. While seven had already been de-allocated by the ministry for inordinate delay in their progress as per the recommendations of the inter-ministerial group, the remaining 25 blocks now stand de-allocated after the apex court ruling. Out of the 32 blocks, only the Talabira I coal block allocated to the by Aditya Birla Group owned Hindalco Industries has commenced production.
It is to be noted that the government had signed Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) with 28 power producers who had committed investments of over Rs one lakh crore. Together, they would have generated around 37,510 MW out of which the state’s share would have been 5,887 MW. But with today’s verdict of the apex court, the production target would have to undergo a downward revision.
Three IPPs – Vedanta Group firm Sesa Sterlite (2,400 MW), GMR Kamalanga (1,050 MW) and Jindal India Thermal Power Ltd (600 MW) – have already commissioned their projects with a total capacity of 4,050 MW.
It is estimated that about 60,000 MW of power would be generated by the existing and upcoming power plants in the state by the end of 13th Plan period. While Odisha’s demand would rise to 8500 MW from its present demand of 3, 500 MW by that period, there would be a surplus 40,000 MW power, which may be supplied to other power deficit states.