Odisha accuses Centre of discrimination
New Delhi: The Odisha government has accused the Centre of adopting a "discriminatory" approach in coal mines allocation, saying state PSUs have been ignored while power major NTPC is allotted four mines despite its poor show.
The development comes barely a fortnight after the Centre allocated 14 mines to state and central PSUs.
Odisha Energy Minister Arun Kumar Sahoo in a letter to Union Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal has demanded re-examination of the allocation process to "provide justice" by allocating Chandrabila coal block to state PSU OPGC.
The state has also made it clear that it will be very difficult for it to support "other state and central entities at the cost of its own state companies", pleading mine allotment to Odisha Power Generation Corporation (OPGC), which is in the process of setting up 4X660 MW power plant.
"In spite of repeated requests and recommendations from the state government for allocation of coal blocks in Odisha to local PSUs, the Ministry (Centre) has decided to allot coalblocks within Odisha to other state PSUs and NTPC without considering the already allocated seven coal blocks to NTPC and several coal blocks to other state PSUs and their failure to produce coal," Sahoo said.
Alleging that allocation of only one mine to Odisha PSU is a "total injustice to the state, especially being a host state", the letter said: "Despite NTPC's poor performance, Ministry has allotted a total of 4 blocks to NTPC (two coal blocks in Odisha."
It has mentioned that earlier the Ministry had deallocated five coal blocks to the power major and in June this year, show-cause notice was slapped on it for failure to develop two blocks.
"While coal blocks have been allocated to all eligible PSUs recommended by the Ministry of Power, CEA and CMPDI, only OPGC has been excluded allowing a totally discriminatory approach. Same yardstick has not been applied to other PSUs.
"This attitude of the Ministry is very disturbing, disappointing and unjust to the state of Odisha," it said.
The development comes barely a fortnight after the Centre alloted 14 coal blocks with geological reserves of 8,311 million tonnes (MT) to Centre and state PSUs including 4 to NTPC.
Pleading the case for mines allocation to OPGC, the state government said, Manoharpur blocks alloted to it had insufficient reserves and OPGC has expansion plans as Odisha is currently facing unprecedented rise in demand for power due to industrial and social development.
At present, OPGC owns and operates 2X210 MW thermal power plant at Banaharapalli in Jharsuguda district.