Odisha CM meets Modi, seeks coal blocks to state PSUs

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Bhubaneswar/New Delhi, April 12 (IANS) Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Tuesday raised several issues related to coal blocks, including their allocation to state PSUs, during a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday.

Meeting the prime minister in New Delhi, Patnaik called for allocation of an alternative coal block to Odisha Thermal Power Corporation (OTPC) in lieu of Tentuloi coal block, saying the allocated block was neither feasible for mining nor viable for operations as the cost of extracting coal from the deep cast mine would be very high.

The chief minister suggested that the Tentuloi coal block could be replaced by either of the three blocks — Baitarani East, Karadabahal or Brahmanibill.

He said the earmarking of most of the coal blocks of Odisha for the power sector would adversely affect the mineral based industries and the revenue benefits of the state.

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Patnaik said the Odisha Coal and Power Limited (OCPL) requires a bridge linkage of 16.68 million tonnes of coal from 2017-18 to 2020-21 to meet the gap between power plant commissioning and coal production from the allocated Manoharpur and dipside Manoharpur coal blocks.

He asked Modi to allocate Patrapada and Nuagaon Teli Sahi coal blocks to the Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC) for commercial mining and sale of coal to the non-regulated sector and earmark at least nine coal blocks for the non-regulated sector through auction.

The chief minister also said the bidding process for implementation of Ultra Mega Power Project (UMPP) at Bedabahal in Sungargarh district has been delayed and needs to be expedited to meet the future power requirements of the state.

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Stating that the union government was giving preferential treatment to central government undertakings in raising compensatory afforestation on degraded forest land, he said the said dispensation was presently not available to projects of the state government and its undertakings.

He said that over 37 percent of geographical area in Odisha was recorded as forest area, and that makes it difficult to identify non-forest land for raising compensatory afforestation, and this special dispensation should be extended to state government projects.

He said environmental clearances to many mining projects were pending in the union ministry over delay in the submission of final reports by the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI).

He also drew the attention of Modi to the proposal in the budget for 2016-17 proposing an increase in the clean environment cess from the existing Rs.200 per MT to Rs.400 per MT.

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This, he said, would result in collection of about Rs.6,400 crore from Odisha without any commensurate benefit to the state.

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