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Odisha seeks early mining lease of coal block for OPGC expansion

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Reported by Chinmaya Dehury

Bhubaneswar, July 7:

The Odisha government today urged Power and Coal Minister Piyush Goyal to expedite grant of mining lease for Manoharpur coal block allocated to Odisha Power Generation Corporation (OPGC) for its expansion of 1,320 mw power project at its Banharpalli plant near Jharsuguda.

Energy Minister Pranab Prakash Das during a meeting with Union Power Minister Piyus Goyal in New Delhi on Monday
Energy Minister Pranab Prakash Das during a meeting with Union Power Minister Piyus Goyal in New Delhi on Monday

During a meeting with the Union Minister in New Delhi, state Energy Minister Pranab Prakash Das urged him to allow interim coal linkage from the Basundhara coal mines to run the plant.

He also urged the Minister to pursue the Stage-II clearance for Manoharpur coal block. While the state government has recommended mining lease of the coal block to the Coal Ministry, it is awaiting approval from the MoEF for stage II clearance. The coal block had obtained Stage-I forest clearance from the Ministry of Environment & Forests (MoEF).

OPGC’s 1,320 MW expansion plan is being taken up at a cost of Rs 11,547 crore, which also includes the cost of other components like coal block development and dedicated rail corridor.

Informing that the government is taking up a mega plan to generate around 50,000 MW of power considering the huge reserve of coal in the state, Das reiterated the government’s demand for 25% free power from coal-based power plants, 33% free power from power plants based on coal washery rejects in the state and 25% cess on the power sold outside the state.

The Minister also demanded reconsideration of the decision to disallow the benefits of Restructured Accelerated Power Development and Reforms Programme (RAPDRP) to the consumers of the three private distribution companies (DISCOMs) of the state.

Due to the non-extension of R-APDRP in the state, which was pioneer in the power sector reforms in the country, Odisha is losing around Rs 1,500 crore per annum, the minister pointed out.