Karunanidhi denies irregularity in coal procurement

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Chennai, Sep 7 (UNI) Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi today denied that coal was not being procured regularly for the State Electricity Board.

Reacting to PMK founder-leader S Ramadoss's demand for a probe into the procurement of ''inferior quality'' coal, the Chief Minister said the charge that there was irregularity in the procurement of coal was only an ''imagination.'' He said the Electricity Board required 15 million tonnes of coal a year to run its four thermal power stations and till 2003, the coal was supplied by Indian Coal Corporation at the orders of standing linkage committee.

Following the fall in production, the Corporation had allowed boards to import coal from 2004 and since then, the state Electricity Board had been importing coal through the public sector Metals and Minerals Trading Corporation (MMTC).

This year, till August, it had imported 11.58 lakh tonnes of coal, he said, adding whenever the coal was imported, the Electricity Board ensured the lowest price compared to the price in open market.

''It also checked the quality of coal by a certified agency.

The board made payment to the imported coal, only if the quality was upto the mark fixed by it,'' Mr Karunanidhi said and described Dr Ramadoss's charge as ''unadulterated imagination.'' MORE UNI WS SJ KK GC1642

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