BHUBANESWAR: As frequent agitations and strikes severely affected coal production in Talcher and Ib Vally areas of Mahanadi Coalfields Limited (MCL), Union Minister for Coal and Mines Pralhad Joshi is likely to take up the issue with Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Friday.
The Union Minister, on his maiden visit to the State, is scheduled to meet the Chief Minister at Lok Seva Bhawan where a host of issues pertaining to the mining sector will be discussed. As the country is grappling with coal shortage and thermal power plants are starving for fossil fuel, the unfavourable socio-political situation and frequent stoppages have further accentuated the problem.
Since law and order is a state subject, the Union Minister will seek the intervention of Chief Minister for smooth and unhindered production of coal, sources in Coal India said. Union Coal Secretary Anil Jain, Coal India CMD Anil Kumar Jha, MCL CMD BN Sukla and senior officers of Coal and Coal India will attend the meeting.
During his last visit to the State Jain had drawn the attention of Chief Secretary Ashit Tripathy to the law and order problem faced by MCL in coal production and dispatch. But, there is hardly any improvement in the situation. Odisha Power Generation Corporation (OPGC) had to shut down one of its four units of the thermal power plant at Banharpalli in Jharsuguda district due to disruption in coal supply.
MCL could not operate one of its quarry at Lakhanpur due to resistance by Ubuda villagers demanding employment beyond R&R Policy of the State Government. The operation of mines was possible only after deployment of the police force, the sources said.
OPGC is getting coal from MCL under bridge linkage policy, a short term linkage to bridge the gap between the requirement of coal of a specified end-use plant till the start of production from the allotted coal block.
Talcher coalfields alone registered a loss of 13 million tonne in coal production during the current financial year, with a negative growth of about 8 per cent compared to the same period previous fiscal 2018-19 due similar reason.Prior to the meeting with the Chief Minister, Joshi may take a review of Nalco.