BHUBANESWAR: Uncertainty looms large over the fate of independent power and steel projects of the State after the Supreme Court ruling, which held coal blocks allotted between 1993 and 2010 illegal.
The State Government has so far signed Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) for setting up 29 independent power projects (IPPs) and 49 steel projects at a total investment of more than Rs 4 lakh crore.
The coal-fired power projects have a combined generating capacity of 37,440 MW and the proposed investment is more than Rs 1.91 lakh crore.
Meanwhile, Sterlite Energy of Vedanta Group has fully commissioned its 2,400 MW plant (4 X 600 MW) near Jharsuguda while GMR Energy has put on stream three 350 MW units of its plant at Kamalanga in Dhenkanal district. Both the companies have got Rampia, dip side Rampia coal blocks in Ib Valley area having reserve of 112.22/84.16 million tonnes.
Besides, power projects of Jindal India Thermal Power Limited (JITPL), Ind-Barath Energy and Monnet Power were in advanced stage of commissioning. These companies have been allotted coal blocks.
Though the Centre allocated 32 coal blocks in the State, most of the coal blocks have remained undeveloped due to delay in granting statutory clearances. The Ministry of Coal had de-allocated seven coal blocks due to unsatisfactory progress.
The State had taken strong exception to de-allocation of five coal blocks in Talcher coalfield, namely Mandakini-B, Baitarani West, Utkal-D, Naini and New Patrapada and two coal blocks allocated to two coal-to-liquid (CTL) projects on the recommendation of the Inter-Ministerial Group (IMG).
The State Government on Monday said it will decide it next course of action after the final judgment is pronounced by the apex court.
“We are waiting for the final ruling of the Supreme Court on the issue and then we will decide what could be done,” said a senior officer of the Energy department.
Sources in the State-run Odisha Power Generation Corporation (OPGC), which had got two coal blocks at Manoharpur in Sundargarh district for expansion of Ib thermal projects in Jharsuguda district, said the apex court ruling may not affect OPGC. Earlier, the State Government had also objected to the manner in which 32 coal blocks in Odisha coalfields were allocated to 55 companies of other States.
While the State has coal reserve of over 71,000 million tonnes, only 1.26 per cent of the reserve was allocated to Odisha PSUs as against 10.77 per cent to private industries and 6.38 per cent to PSUs of the Centre and other States.