ANGUL: With downslide in coal production in Talcher Coalfield, power plants depending on it are starved of coal resulting in shutdown of power generating units. Almost all the power stations located in and around Talcher are facing the worst ever crisis due to short supply of coal.
Official reports of NTPC-Kaniha stated that coal stock at the 3,000 MW power plant is not sufficient even for a day. The condition of the nearby Jindal India Thermal Power, a private power producer, is also critical as both the 600 MW units are closed from the beginning of this month, owing to coal shortage. Similarly, a 350 MW unit of 1,050 MW GMR power plant has been shut down. The situation at Jindal Steel and Power Plant is equally critical. So is the condition of Nalco captive power plant where the stock is down by one lakh tonne.
Talcher Coalfield, which accounts for 60 per cent of coal production of Mahanadi Coalfields Limited (MCL), provides coal to Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Maharashtra besides meeting the demand of Odisha. The unprecedented shortage is said to be due to low coal production in Talcher.
A top MCL official, on condition of anonymity, said the daily production has plummeted by 35 to 40 per cent from eight open cast coal mines in Talcher in the last two months due to frequent bandhs and agitations by locals as well as non-availability of land and resettlement sites. “Our daily production target is minimum three lakh tonne from the mines but since the beginning of the year, it has been below two lakh tonne leading to severe shortage,” he said.
The official said Hingula and Balaram mines together produce 24,000 tonne coal against normal capacity of 50,000 tonne daily on an average. Bharatapur mine produces 32,000 tonne against normal capacity of 55,000 tonne and at Ananta, it is 8,000 tonne against 18,000 tonne capacity. The official said the largest producing mine of MCL, Bubaneswari, produces 70,000 tonne daily.
Collector Anil Kumar Samal said rehabilitation and resettlement issues are crucial and they are trying to sort it out by holding frequent meetings between MCL and local villagers. “We want a senior official of personnel department to be permanently stationed at Talcher but that did not happen,” he added. SP Kavita Jalan said mine works were affected due to non-finalisation of rehabilitation and resettlement issues.