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Priority to state PSUs in coal block allocation, Centre assures Odisha

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OST Bureau

New Delhi, July 30: Union Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal today assured Odisha Energy Minister Arun Sahu that priority would be given to state owned companies in the allocation of coal blocks in future. He also promised to look into the demands of the Odisha government with regard to the allocation of coal blocks in Odisha.

“I have assured the minister (Sahoo) that we’ll allocate more and more blocks to Odisha on a priority basis. Since the three coal blocks which have been identified for commercial mining are yet to be allocated, I have asked officials to allocate Odisha’s coal block only to the State,” Jaiswal said.

During the meeting with Jaiswal today, Sahu pressed for the allocation of the Chandabali coal block to Odisha Power Generation (OPGC) since both the Union Energy Ministry and the Central Mining Planning and Designing Institute (CMPDI) have already recommended the coal block in favour of the state PSU

The state Energy Minister had recently written a letter to Jaiswal seeking a larger share in coal block allocation. While the state has a total estimated coal reserve of 71,447 MT, state-owned PSUs have access to only 1.26 per cent of the reserves while as much as 10.77 per cent have been allocated to private companies, the letter pointed out.

Making it clear that supporting “other state and central entities at the cost of its own state companies” would be difficult, Sahu had said in his letter that 32.15 per cent has been given to Coal India subsidiary Mahanadi Coal Limited (MCL) alone while 6.38 per cent of reserves had been allotted to PSUs belonging to other states.