In order to boost coal supplies to power plants, the government has decided on various steps including the use of dedicated rail transportation and setting up of power projects only within 500 km from coal mines, sources said. It has also decided that all power plants within 20 km from pit-head of coal mine will construct elevated closed belt conveyors within next 2 years. The steps were finalised at a meeting headed by Power Minister R K Singh, said a source.
The meeting was held in the last week of January and the steps were firmed up in the presence of power secretary, coal secretary, chairman of the Central Electricity Authority, CIL's chairman and managing director and CMD of NTPC.
As per the estimates on the basis of power consumption growth, the requirement of domestic coal in 2018-19 would be about 615 million tonnes, which means that 288 rakes of coal per day would be required from Coal India Ltd (CIL), said the source.
According to him, as per the steps decided, plants within 40 km from pithead are mandated to construct MGR system within 3 years. The MGR or merry-go-round is a closed-circuit dedicated rail transportation system between the production and consumption points.
Similarly, power plants located beyond 40 km and up to 100 km can consider MGR if they find it viable. It was also decided that in future new thermal power plants, with the exception of extension projects, will be implemented only within 500 km of coal mine.
Sources said the minister noted during the meeting that as against a loading plan of 274 rakes, the average supply of rake by CIL was about 259 rakes per day from January 3-22.
It was also pointed out that the thermal power plants had outstandings of around Rs 9,000 crore. It was decided to frame a policy so that outstanding dues should not be for more than 90 days.