CEA asks Tata, Hindalco others to speed up coal mine output

The Central Electricity Authority has asked companies including NTPC, Hindalco, Tata Power and Tata Steel to expedite production from captive coal blocks allocated to them and inform it about any constraints.

"A meeting was held...To review the status of development of captive coal blocks allocated for power generation," according to the minutes.

"There are constraints in supply of coal to new power plants...Therefore, it is necessary to expedite the development of captive coal blocks," the minutes said.

The Supreme Court had observed last week that huge investments made by companies in coal blocks without getting approvals cannot be a ground for not cancelling licences.

The apex court had sought the Centre's response on whether it intended to de-allocate such mines.

The CEA asked "the participants to intimate the latest status of development of captive coal blocks and end-use power plants, including the constraints being faced by them, if any, in obtaining clearances, land acquisition and mining lease," according to the minutes of the meeting.

The CEA would try to facilitate the removal of the constraints, it added. The CEA is the apex technical organisation for facilitating development of the power sector in the country.

During the meeting held in December, the CEA reviewed the progress of 22 mines, including NTPC's Chatti Bariatu, Talaipalli and Pakri Barwadih blocks; Essar Power and Hindalco's Mahan block; Mandakani 'A' block jointly allotted to Tata Power, Monnet Ispat & Energy and Jindal Photo, and Ganeshpur block given to Tata Steel and Adhunik Power & Natural Resources Ltd.

The coal ministry has allocated 88 captive blocks with geological reserves of about 1.37 billion tonnes of coal for power generation.

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