NTPC to invite bids soon to develop coal block in Jharkhand

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State-owned power producer NTPC will soon invite bids to develop its Pakri-Barwadih coal block in Jharkhand.

NTPC has already cancelled Rs 23,000-crore contract with Thiess Minecs India to develop this block due to delays.

"The appointment of MDO (Mine Developer and Operator) for the coal block (Pakri Barwadih) has been terminated on May 7 due to his inability to start work at site," said the minutes of a Coal Ministry meeting held under the Chairmanship of Joint Secretary, Coal, Vivek Bhardwaj.

"A fresh NIT (Notice Inviting Tender) will be placed shortly," it said.

A representative of the company, it said, also conveyed it to the Coal Ministry during the meeting that NTPC was pursuing the case with the Jharkhand government and the block is expected to start production from December, 2014.

Mining plan, environment clearance and forest clearance pertaining to the mine have been obtained, it said.

"Reasons for non-commencement of coal production despite all clearances can be attributed to lack of support of government of Jharkhand," it added.

Thiess Minecs was appointed mine developer and operator for NTPC's mine in November, 2010, after a global tender. The company wanted to start mining coal to reduce dependence on the market for the fuel.

The contract, valued at an estimated Rs 23,000 crore, was for a period of 27 years, the company had said, adding that the development period was 360 days ending November 25, 2011, with the remainder for operations.

Thiess Minecs is a 90% subsidiary of Thiess Pty Ltd, Australia, which is a mining, construction and services contractor.

NTPC had issued a show-cause notice to Thiess Minecs on July 10, 2012, stating the defaults and non-fulfillment of contractual obligations by the company without any response.

The power PSU had also said the matter was not taken very seriously by the Australian authorities.

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