July 05 2020
War of words as Coal Ministry cancels five NTPC coal blocks
19 June 2011

A war of words has erupted between the country’s largest electricity producer -- NTPC Ltd -- and the Ministry of Coal over the latter’s recent diktat of cancellation of three coal blocks to NTPC and one each to Damodar Valley Corporation and to Jharkhand State Electricity Board.

The recent directive of the Ministry of Coal to cancel allotment of five coal acreages including three to NTPC has led to the state-run power company alleging that the decision was "irrational" and lacked transparency. The Coal Ministry has charged NTPC and other developers of not being serious in undertaking exploration of these coal blocks despite them being allotted long time back.

However, NTPC has accused the Coal Ministry of adopting a biased approach towards it stating that it had completed more works in the blocks allotted to it than any other private firm has done in their mines allocated to them. “NTPC is the leading power producer and its track record speaks for itself. The company is committed towards developing all these blocks but what has been done is not at all good and there is a serious need to have a re-look at the whole process of de-allocation,” a senior NTPC official said.

Interestingly, the official pointed out that some of the blocks adjoining to these coal blocks in North Karanpura coal field are much behind NTPC's blocks but yet they have been spared. NTPC was given Chhati Bariatu (South), Chatti Bariatu and Kerandari blocks in Jharkhand. Chatti Bariatu and Kerandari blocks in North Karanpura coal fields were allocated in 2006, while it got Chatti Bariatu (South) in 2007.

Earlier, the Power Ministry had written to the Coal Ministry seeking a review of the decision to cancel allocations to NTPC. It had stated that this development is likely to impact NTPC’s plans to add over 15,000 MW generation capacity.

Saharpur Jamarpani and Banhardih -- both in Jharkhand -- are the other blocks, where the allocation has been cancelled. Saharpur Jamarpani was allocated to Damodar Valley Corporation in 2007, and Banhardih given to Jharkhand State Electricity Board in 2006. The Coal Ministry, had last year, issued notices on allocation of 84 coal and four lignite blocks. It had sought explanations from the companies about why their allocation should not be cancelled.



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