Let Bengal raise old power plants to super-critical levels: Goyal

Kolkata, Aug 22 (IANS) Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal on Monday suggested the West Bengal government convert two of the state’s old power plants into super-critical base plants.

He also said the Centre would take steps to simplify mining operations in the Deocha Pachami coal block which was allocated to West Bengal along with other states.

“To start with, I have suggested the state convert two of its old power plants — Kolaghat Thermal Power Station (KTPS) with a capacity of 1,260 megawatt (MW) and Bandel Thermal Power Station having 455 MW capacity — into super critical base power stations,” Goyal said.

The state will take its own decision, he said.

Located in the south western part of Birbhum Coalfield in West Bengal, Deocha-Pachami coal block with a coal reserve 2,000 million tonnes was offered jointly to West Bengal, Bihar, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Sutlej Jal Vidyut Nigam.

The state government, however, has been saying that the mining operations would be difficult with so many players being allocated to the mine.

“We are trying to provide some other blocks to some of the states which got the allocation in Deocha-Pachmi. The process is to simplify the mining operations in the Deocha Pachmi,” he said.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee created a special purpose vehicle, Bengal Birbhum Coalfields Ltd, to develop the mine.

Goyal also said the Centre’s policy to conduct reverse bidding process to award coal extraction works to allocated coal mines has yielded benefits to the state.

The Centre allocated six coal blocks to the state. After settling with the legal disputes, the process of awarding mine development and operations of the blocks has been completed in reverse bidding process. The work order will be issued shortly.

“The cost of carrying out coal mining in Pachwara (North) coal block having capacity of 15 mt of coal per year was Rs 1,564 per tonne , the cost came down in the reverse bidding process to Rs 774 crore. The reduction in cost will benefit the state,” he said.

–IANS

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