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Karnataka invokes emergency clause, to get coal from Maharashtra

With stocks dwindling to just half a day at the three thermal power plants, state will face severe problems; a tender will only delay procurement, says D K Shivakumar

Published: 25th October 2017 03:28 AM  |   Last Updated: 25th October 2017 10:37 AM   |  A+A-

Vidhana Soudha illuminated with laser lights on the eve of the 60th anniversary in Bengaluru on Tuesday | PTI

By Express News Service

BENGALURU: Faced with crippling shortage of coal at its thermal plants, the state government has resorted to invoking the emergency clause to bypass tender process and get coal transported from Western Coalfields Limited (WCL) located in Maharashtra.

Addressing a press conference here on Tuesday, Energy Minister D K Shivakumar said coal had depleted to half a day’s stock at the three thermal power plants at Raichur, Ballari and Yeramaras. “There is no proper coal supply today. If the situation of half a day’s stock continues, then we will face severe problems from next month. This is not happening only in Karnataka, but all over the country and no thermal plants have more than a day’s worth of stock. We purchase coal only from Central government mines and have got a special quota of 3 lakh tonnes from WCL for two months, which we will get by using road and rail route,” he said.  

Karnataka’s coal supply from WCL has only been 43 per cent so far due to transport restraints. To make sure it gets its quota, the state is now invoking Section 4 of Karnataka Transparency in Public Procurement Act (KTPP) for transporting coal through road from the mines to the railway siding for two months. While this was the responsibility of WCL, the company has done so only for one rake per day instead of the two rakes it is supposed to send to Karnataka.

Shivakumar said that he along with the CM Siddaramaiah met Union Coal Minister Piyush Goyal to ensure supply of 3 lakh tonnes in two months from WCL though the road and rail route. The supply from WCL had dwindled not only because of their refusal to transport the second rake through road to the railway siding which could extend up to 40 kms, but also due to decrease in production due to various factors. This agreement will ensure that WCL provides 3 lakh tonnes of coal regardless of their production levels.

Shivakumar said that a tender process for transporting coal would take about three months to be completed, thereby affecting the state’s capacity to generate power through thermal power stations, when production needs to be at its peak in the coming winter months. Once rains stop in October, there is extra reliance on thermal power and hydel power is used less as water is required for the summer months.
Rs 1,500 crore loss

Speaking about allegations about KPCL paying additional levy in relation to cancellation of coal mining blocks, Shivakumar reiterated that all the payments were made well within the confines of the law. “B S Yeddyurappa is such a senior politician. If he makes an allegation, then the ground should shake. Instead, he chose something that has no base and is far from the truth. I feel sorry for him. If they find any wrongdoing, let them hang me” he said. He added that a Special Leave Petition had not moved an inch in the Supreme Court and the inability to operate the six mining blocks (also in Maharashtra) allotted to the state had resulted in additional expenditure of `1,500 crore as they were purchasing from other mines for a higher rate.

Power Points

Report by committee investigating power purchase agreements from 2005-14 to be tabled in the winter Assembly session
Linesmen in all Escoms to be henceforth called as powermen and to be given new uniforms
A new building for KPTCL called Indhana Bhavana to be constructed on Race Course Road on two acres of land at a cost of Rs 130 crore
Power awards to be given to 174 people for their contributions and achievements on October 28 at Palace Grounds

Schedule of events

11 am: President Ram Nath Kovind to address joint session of legislature.
12 noon to 12.15 pm: Kovind to visit Legislative Council Hall.
12.20 pm: President to have photo session with legislators.
12.30 pm: President to leave Vidhana Soudha for HAL airport.
3 pm to 5 pm (Banquet Hall): Screening of documentaries depicting the evolution the of state legislature, history and cultural ethos of the state.
5 pm onwards (grand steps of Vidhana Soudha entrance): Cultural programme, musical night by Hamsalekha.

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