Stir paralyses coal supply to power plants in Orissa

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Bhubaneswar, Jun 19 (UNI) The ongoing agitation by hundreds of contractual drivers at Talcher Coalfield of Mahanadi Coalfield Limited (MCL), which entered the fourth day today, virtually crippled coal supply leading to crisis in power plants in Orissa.

The 3000 MW NTPC-owned Talcher Super Thermal Power plant, the Captive power plant of NALCO at Angul and the 108 MW coal based plant of IMFA at Choudwar, are in critical stage due to non-supply of coal.

According to NTPC sources its Kanhia plant is now having a coal stock of less than three days only. With daily consumption at about 50000 tonnes to run all the six 500 MW units, the plant has a stock of nearly 1.3 lakh tonnes.

The strike has paralysed coal production and transportation from Monday last resulting in coal crisis forcing the public sector NALCO to shut down a 120MW unit.

There is a bleak possibility of an early end to the stir as several round of talks between the coal company and strikers have failed so far.

NTPC sources said it would be forced to shut down the units if the supply from feeding Talcher did not resume within a day.

While NALCO authorities maintained that the dwindling stock at its captive power plant has further reduced to about 35,000 tonne whereas daily consumption comes to around 12000 tonne after shutting down one of the 120 MW unit due to want of coal.

Efforts are on by NALCO and MCL authorities to resume coal supply by departmental dumpers and tippers in wake of the crisis.

The drivers engaged under private coal transporters went on strike since Monday demanding fulfillment of their 17-point charter of demands which include among other things enhancement of monthly salary and bank payment.

Coal crisis was also reported in the Indian Metals and Ferro Alloys Limited(IMFA), the country's largest Ferro alloys as its 108 MW coal based plant at Choudwar has only four days' coal stock to run the plant.

IMFA Managing Director Subhrakanta Panda has urged MCL Chairman S R Upadhaya to intervene personally and step up coal supply to the plant as the plant was critical for the power system of the twin cities of Cuttack and Bhubaneswar.

Mr Panda said despite having a signed agreement with the MCL the supply of coal has been erratic during the past few months. The plant has received only two rakes of coal as against sanctioned 26 rakes for May and June, he said adding that there has been also a back log of nearly 45 rakes under the e-auction scheme.

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