Patnaik urges PM to re-examine coal block earmarking process

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Bhubaneswar, Feb 27: Irked over the Centre's process of earmarking of coal blocks for specific use, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Friday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to re-examine and earmark more coal mines for auction for the non-regulated sector.

"I request you to have the process of earmarking of coal mines re-examined and earmark more coal mines for auction for the non-regulated sector," Patnaik wrote to Modi.

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Odisha also required coal for the non-regulated sector comprising steel, aluminium and cement industries and their captive power plants, he said.

Justifying his claim, Patnaik pointed out in the letter that out of the nine coal blocks of Odisha earmarked for auction, only one mine, namely, Jamkhani had been earmarked for the non-regulated sector while 10 coal blocks had been earmarked for allotment meant only for the power sector.

Patnaik said 58 industries of Odisha had a total installed captive power generation capacity of more than 7500 MW with an approximate annual coal requirement of more than 50 million tones of which 13 larger industrial units with CPP's of more than 100 MW alone account for 5000 MW capacity.

Stating that these industries will be at a great disadvantage due to non-earmarking of adequate number of coal blocks to meet their captive requirement, the Chief Minister said the disproportionately high extent of earmarking of the coal blocks of Odisha for the power sector, would not only affect the end-user mineral based industries of the state, but also reduce the revenue benefits to the state due to the reverse bidding procedure followed for the power sector.

"While Odisha has about a quarter of the country’'s coal reserves, out of the revenue of more than Rs 1 lakh crore from the coal blocks auctioned till now, the share of Odisha is expected to be less than one per cent," the Chief Minister said.

PTI 

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