State govt slams Centre’s coal allocation policy

Minister claims state receives coal from distant mines, which increases cost.

The state Tuesday criticised the Centre for alleged discrepancies in its coal allocation policy, claiming that it was receiving coal from distant mines which was increasing the cost of power production.

Speaking at the Power Ministers Conference here, Gujarat's Energy and Petrochemicals Minister Saurabh Patel complained that instead of available coal reserves in nearby Western Coalfields, the state is receiving coal from distant coal mines and paying huge transportation cost of around Rs 2,200 crore per year.

This was leading to subsequent financial burden on consumers, Patel said, adding, "There is also serious concern about the quality of the coal supply to Gujarat where there is wide variation between the billed grades and the actual grades of coal received at power stations."

The Gujarat minister also expressed serious concern on the poor financial health of many DISCOMs across the country and emphasised on the need to provide adequate and reliable power supply at reasonable price to all to ensure holistic socio-economic development.

Patel claimed that Gujarat DISCOMs implemented reforms with capital infusion and made serious result-oriented efforts to achieve a turnaround while majority power distribution utilities elsewhere continued to face fiscal constraints.

He said concerted and cohesive actions of central and state governments are required to bring about desired momentum and to provide power for all at reasonable price.

Patel also requested the Centre to take a lead role in obtaining gas/coal allocations abroad to have fuel security and mentioned the constraints in inter-regional transmission corridor thus blocking the free flow of power from surplus state like Gujarat to power-deficit states in the South.

Patel said Gujarat has reached an installed capacity of 17,169 MW from conventional sources, up from 9561 MW in 2007 and planned to augment the capacity to 25,902 MW by the end of 12th Plan.

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