Tangedco abandons Chandrabila coal block mines

The decision comes after it failed to obtain necessary environmental clearances and adequate response from bidders for tenders floated for excavation.
Image used for representational purpose.
Image used for representational purpose. (Photo | EPS)

CHENNAI: Tangedco has decided to abandon the Chandrabila coal block mines, which were allotted to it in 2016 by the union coal ministry through auction.

The decision comes after it failed to obtain necessary environmental clearances and adequate response from bidders for tenders floated for excavation.

According to sources, the coal block was allotted to Tangedco with a plan to develop and start mining within 66 months, i.e., by September 2021 and Tangedco had paid Rs 50 crore as deposit.

Officials said the power utility has demanded the coal ministry to refund the Rs 50 crore as per the agreement it entered during the auction. However, the union ministry has offered to return only Rs 2 crore. Tangedco has moved the Madras High Court in this regard.

Speaking to TNIE, a senior official said, “Tangedco floated tenders for the first time to start the coal excavation in 2019, but only Adani group participated. As per regulations, a single bid means the tender must be cancelled.” Though Tangedco issued fresh tenders again in 2021 and 2022, there were no interested bidders, official added.

“Development was hindered due to non-issuance of clearance for exploration in the forest area by the Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change. Though we attempted mining in non-forest areas, the Odisha government did not approve even that. With no options left, we decided to drop it,” explained another official.

“Several residential areas are developing near the Chandrabila coal block, making mining activities extremely difficult. Additionally, competing with private players is impossible, which is one of the main reason for dropping the project,” he added.

The Chandrabila coal block covers 934 hectares in Odisha’s Angul district. It has a geological resource of 46.91 metric tons of G7 grade coal per year, with a depth range of 6-200 metres.

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