KCR for reforms in coal allocation policy

Sun 19 May 2019, 13:22:30
Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao on Saturday called for comprehensive reforms in the way coal is allocated to thermal power stations which in turn should lead to reduction of power production costs. Demanding that the Centre take steps in this direction, the Chief Minister said he will lead this initiative with the new government that is to be formed at the Centre soon.

Chandrashekhar Rao also announced that the State government will permit National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) to set up solar power generating stations on the various reservoirs in Telangana. To start with, a small reservoir will be allocated to start a pilot project and after evaluating the results, NTPC will be allotted larger reservoirs to set up the solar power plants. He also urged NTPC to provide 2,000 MW of power to the State in view of the increasing demand for electricity in the State.

The Chief Minister was speaking at a meeting with NTPC, and State power utilities officials and SCCL officials at Ramagundam on Saturday evening after inspecting the ongoing construction of the NTPC’s 1,600 MW plant in Ramagundam. Responding to NTPC officials who explained that the first two 800 MW units will begin production in October next and two more units will come on stream in 2021, Chandrashekhar Rao urged them to complete the projects ahead of their deadlines.

Increasing demand
“As per the AP Reorganization Act, the Centre agreed to provide 4,000 MW of power to Telangana. As part of this agreement, NTPC is building the 1,600 MW plant. This will take about a year to complete and to get the rest of the promised power, will take more time. We are providing quality power round the clock to the agriculture sector and to all other consumers in the State. And Kaleshwaram irrigation project, set to come on stream this year alone will require 6,000 MW of power. Telangana has the highest per capita consumption of power in the country and keeping in view the State’s increasing requirements, NTPC should supply 2,000 MW to Telangana,” he said.

In response, the NTPC CMD Gurdeep Singh promised that his company will supply the power sought by Telangana and the Chief Minister instructed State officials to work out the modalities for this. Chandrashekhar Rao also said that if the State gets power from the existing NTPC stations, it would not only meet the needs of the State but would also ensure power supply at an attractive price.

On the issue of supply of coal to thermal stations, Chandrashekhar Rao said the polices in place now in the country left much to be desired. For instance, instead of taking coal from Singareni Collieries that are in its backyard, the under construction NTPC plant is to get coal from 950 km away from Odisha. This will add to the generation costs and the price of electricity from the plant ultimately burdening the people, he said.

Cutting costs
“The purpose of setting up pit-head plants is to cut down such costs. Telangana Genco only uses coal from Singareni. NTPC plants in the State too should get their coal from Singareni,” he said. “I will write to the new Central government on this matter and take the initiative to change the existing coal supply policies to thermal stations,” Chandrashekhar Rao said.

He also said delays in permissions as well as construction of plants by the Centre were having an ultimate impact on supplies and costs. There is also a need to improve the pace of construction of transmission lines and their maintenance by Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd. “I hope that the new Central government will look into these issues and take necessary action without delays,” he said.

Praise for NTPC
The Chief Minister, however, made it clear that in terms of power production, the State will work with NTPC as a partner and as part of this, allow NTPC to set up solar power plants on reservoirs. He also complimented NTPC for planting 13.5 lakh saplings as part of the Telanganaku Harita Haaram programme.

The Chief Minister also complimented officials and staff of Telangana Transco and Genco and said under the leadership of their CMD D Prabhkar Rao these two power utilities have turned around the power supply situation in Telangana in a short period of time. He also complimented Singareni Collieries Company Limited CMD Sridhar for the strides made by the coal major in production and sales.
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