Govt to form panel of third party sampling agencies by Aug

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Government has set a deadline of next month to constitute a panel of third party sampling agencies amid allegations that stones were being dispatched by Coal India Ltd even after the introduction of the mechanism to assess the fuel quality.

"A panel of third party sampling agencies is to be prepared and the consumer shall appoint his sampling agency from the panel," said a source, adding that the deadline for the same is "August 31, 2014".

The issue of fuel quality being supplied to the power plants had also cropped up in the presentation on coal sector earlier made to the Prime Minister Office.

Coal and Power Minister Piyush Goyal had last week said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha that to address the issue of fossil fuel quality, third party sampling and analysis facilities at loading ends have been introduced, and the process is being further streamlined.

He was responding to a query on any tiff between the two PSUs in regard to conducting the tests of samples of coal by a third party.

The issue of third party sampling of coal had also come up for discussions during the Coal India board meeting held this month.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley during his Budget 2014-15 speech had said that stringent mechanism for quality control of coal were being put in place.

A system for third party sampling of coal is already in place since October last year at loading points.

The Power Ministry had earlier alleged that stones and boulders were still being dispatched to the power plants.

"Supply of excessive stones and boulders especially from BCCL (Bharat Coking Coal Ltd), a Coal India subsidiary, is a matter of concern. It results in high detention of railway rakes and damage to coal handling system of power plants," said a Power Ministry document.

The mechanism could not address the quality issue and so there is a "need to be done at unloading point", it said.

The issue of coal quality last year had resulted in a standoff between the country's largest power producer NTPC and the world's largest coal producer CIL.

After the government intervened, it was decided that a third party mechanism would be introduced to check coal quality.

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