BHUBANESWAR: Union Coal and Mines Minister Pralhad Joshi and his deputy Raosaheb Patil Danve are on a three-day visit to Odisha. Joshi and Danve will visit Paradip port and the super thermal power plants of NTPC at Kaniha on Thursday to review various facilities. The Ministers will meet officials of Mines department of both the Centre and State on Friday. They will also review activities of Mahanadi Coalfields Limited (MCL) and NALCO in Bhubaneswar on the same day. Joshi will also meet Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.
The visit of the Union Ministers to the State assumes significance at a time when the country is facing an acute shortage of coal. Though many power plants have critically low stock of coal, the situation in Odisha is better due to better coal linkage and production by MCL. As some of the auctioned coal and iron ore blocks in the State are unable to operate due to lack of statutory clearances, Joshi is likely to take up the issue for discussion with the Chief Minister.
Like coal shortage, secondary steel makers of the State have been complaining of shortage of iron ore and the exorbitant price charged by merchant mines. There is every possibility of the Chief Minister raking up the demand for revision of royalty for coal and non-coal minerals.
With aluminium industries struggling to sustain operations due to alarmingly depleting coal stocks, the Aluminium Association of India on Tuesday sought the intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for resumption of coal supply. MCL is the second largest coal producing company in India with its mining operations spread over Jharsuguda, Sundargarh and Angul districts.