Power woes to end in Punjab as Jharkhand coal mine begins operations after 7 years : The Tribune India

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Power woes to end in Punjab as Jharkhand coal mine begins operations after 7 years

Will help save over Rs 600 cr per annum

Power woes to end in Punjab as Jharkhand coal mine begins operations after 7 years

In a major relief to the state government on the power front, after a wait of over seven years, the coal mine at Pachhwara in Jharkhand has become operational and can help the state save over Rs 600 crore per annum. - File photo



Tribune News Service

Aman Sood

Patiala, December 3

In a major relief to the state government on the power front, after a wait of over seven years, the coal mine at Pachhwara in Jharkhand has become operational and can help the state save over Rs 600 crore per annum. Mining in this coal block started on Friday and already over 15 rakes of coal have been extracted.

The transportation of coal started from the mine site to a railway site in the presence of Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) officials and displaced villagers. The coal mine site is spread over 1,050 hectares and will produce seven million tonnes of high calorific value coal per annum.

The coal from Jharkhand will be transported to the PSPCL-owned two coal-fired power generating units — Guru Hargobind Thermal Plant at Lehra Mohabbat in Bathinda and Guru Gobind Singh Super Thermal Power Plant at Ropar.

The PSPCL is waiting for the go-ahead from the Centre to supply this coal to private generators in the state. “The Ministry of Power has agreed to the proposal and permission from the Coal Ministry is awaited,” said a top official.

The mine was allocated to the PSPCL, but there were legal hurdles that were cleared by the Supreme Court last year. However, thereafter, the PSPCL had to face the coal mining mafia, causing further hurdles in the mine operations.

“The Pachhwara central coal mine will eventually save around Rs 600 crore annually and reduce tariff by 20 to 30 paise per unit,” claimed All India Power Engineers Federation spokesperson VK Gupta.

A senior PSPCL official said the coal from Jharkhand would not only ensure regular supply throughout the year but would also help the state financially. “After clearances, we will divert this coal to private plants to bring more relief to the consumers as it will help reduce the tariff,” he said.

Was stuck in legal tangles

  • The coal mine in Jharkhand, with reserves for 50 years, was allocated to the PSPCL in 2002
  • However, coal extraction has been stuck in legal tangles after the SC cancelled its allocation in 2014
  • In March 2015, the coal mine was reallocated to the PSPCL, but its operations were again delayed
  • In 2021, the SC paved the way for extraction of coal from these mines

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