KOLKATA/BHUBANESWAR: In a setback to the expansion plan of state owned Odisha Power Generation Corporation (OPGC), the Ministry of Coal has ruled out the possibility of offering tapering coal linkage for the 1,320 MW project at Banharpali near Jharsuguda.
The expansion project which involved adding two units of 660 MW was to be taken up at a cost of around Rs 10,000 crore during the 12th Plan (2012-17) period. Though Manoharpur and dip side of Manoharpur coal blocks were allocated for the OPGC plant, it is projected that the coal mine could only be able to operate at full capacity after two years of the commissioning of the power units.
This had prompted the state government to seek tapering coal linkage to support the OPGC expansion plan. Tapering linkage is the short-term linkage which is provided to those coal consumers who have been allocated captive coal blocks for meeting the coal requirements of their linked end use plants (EUPs), but are not able to synchronise the coal production from these blocks in line with the requirement of the EUPs.
B K Patnaik, the state Chief Secretary had urged Coal secretary Alok Perti in February for allocation of tapering coal linkage. However, the Coal ministry has said no further linkage can be offered for the OPGC expansion since coal blocks have already been allocated for the state utility. “During the discussions of the Working Group report for the 12th Plan in the Steering Committee on Energy of the Planning Commission, Ministry of Power has indicated that during 12th Plan, only 38,000 MW capacity would be established through coal linkages. Since linkages amounting to 80,000 MW for 12th Plan already exist, there appears to be prime-facie no scope for awarding further linkages for 12th Plan projects, including the 1320 MW (2×660) Ib thermal power station (Phase-II) of OPGC,” Perti said in the letter to the Chief Secretary.
It may be noted that OPGC’s power plant was expected to achieve financial closure and begin construction towards the end of 2012. The status of the coal blocks allocated to OPGC-Manoharpur and dip side of Manoharpur, which were earlier categorized as ‘No-Go’ area were changed to ‘Go’ category in June last year. This has led to delay in achieving certain project milestones, particularly forest and environment clearances.