Gujarat Slams Centre's Coal Allocation Policy
Gujarat today 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 today, 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.
The first four units of Mundra Mega Power Project have started commercial operation and the fifth unit will be operational soon.
He said Gujarat has tied up 5,810 MW capacity through Competitive bidding process at competitive rates of Rs 2.25- 2.89 per unit out of which the state has started receiving power from 3,200 MW capacity.
Touting its Solar Rooftop Policy to help encourage larger public role in this environment-friendly generation of power, he urged the Centre to provide higher level of capital/ generation subsidy to rooftop based power projects.
Raising concern over the depleting fossil fuel reserves and climatic change, the Gujarat Minister said the state is pro-actively developing renewable energy sources especially solar and wind. The installed wind power capacity in the state is 3009 MW and 824 MW in solar in last two years which is the highest in the country.
He also urged Union Power Minister to provide grants/ concessional funds to state power utilities for implementing successful schemes like the Kisan Hit Urja Shakti Yojana (KHUSHY) scheme under which lengthy LT distribution lines are converted into HT lines leading to reduction in line and commercial losses and failure rate of distribution transformers.
State's Principal Secretary (Energy & Petrochemicals) D J Pandian and MD of Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam, Raj Gopal also participated in the conference.