Centre permits Reliance Power to produce additional 1 MTPA coal for Sasan plant
New Delhi: The centre on Tuesday informed the Delhi high court that it has granted permission to Reliance Power Ltd to produce 18 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) coal from its two coal blocks in Moher and Moher-Amlohri for the financial year 2017-18.
The ministry of coal, through a letter dated 26 February 2018, permitted Reliance Power, as an interim “one-time” measure, to produce 18 MTPA in excess of the cap of 17 MTPA.
Effectively, Reliance Power was granted permission to produce additional 1 million tonne for the present financial year ending 31 March.
A bench comprising acting chief justice Gita Mittal and justice C. Hari Shankar was hearing Reliance Power’s plea seeking permission to mine coal from its two coal blocks in Moher and Moher-Amlohri in excess of the approved 17 MTPA cap to run its 3,960 megawatt Sasan Ultra Mega Power Project in Madhya Pradesh.
Reliance Power had argued that the present cap was not enough to carry out operations till the end of this financial year and an additional 2 MTPA should be allowed to avoid the “threat of a shutdown”.
Drawing attention of the court to the “hand-to-mouth” condition of the power plant, counsel for Reliance Power P. Chidambaram submitted that the permission was granted only with respect to “producing” coal from the two mines, and not “consumption”.
The Sasan power plant would come to a standstill if the approved cap of 18 MTPA was exhausted before the end of the financial year, as there was no additional stock available with the power plant for such a contingency, he argued.
“My production uptil 25/02/2018 was 16.56 million tonne, the consumption was 16.36 million tonne. I have 0.2 million tonne as stock. I cannot shut the plant. It runs for 24 hours and provides electricity to many states,” Chidambaram informed the court, while submitting that a minimum of 1.25 million tonnes was required as additional stock.
He further sought direction from the court on how the plant would meet its coal requirement in case the approved cap was exhausted on the last day of the financial year.
“If I touch my cap of 18 MTPA on 31st March, what will I do on 1st April (with no additional stock as my disposal),” he said.
Sanjeev Narula, appearing for the centre, argued that the new cap of 18 MTPA was sufficient for the power plant as it would last till 10 April.
Comprising six units of 669 MW each, Sasan Ultra Mega Power Project is the world’s largest integrated power generation and coal mining project, and Reliance Power’s flagship project. The power project aims to provide reliable and low-cost power for 25 years to more than 42 crore people in seven states.
The matter would be further heard on 13 March.
Reliance Group companies have sued HT Media Ltd, Mint’s publisher, and nine others in the Bombay high court over a 2 October 2014 front-page story that they have disputed. HT Media is contesting the case.
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