12 Nov 2019
Govt. watchful as clarity is yet to emerge on potential, quality
With A.P. Power Generation Corporation (AP-Genco)’s dependence on Singareni Collieries Company Limited and Mahanadi Coalfields Limited (MCL) for fuel supply to its thermal power plants showing no signs of coming down in the near future, attention is being paid to tapping the underground coal mines discovered in West Godavari (W.G) and parts of Krishna district.However, the government has not yet taken any concrete step towards it as, according to a reliable source in the Energy Department, the availability of coal (estimated to be about a billion tonnes) in those areas has not been officially declared, which kept their exploitation on hold. The process of exploration itself is expected to take at least two to three years, an official familiar with the matter told The Hindu, duly pointing out that the State government is meanwhile negotiating with the Ministry of Coal for the allotment of a portion of the Mandakini block in Angul district of Odisha keeping in view the recurring problems in sourcing coal from the Bharatpur mines of MCL.According to a senior official in AP-Genco, no proposal has so far been made by it to the government for exploitation of the mines in W.G. and its contiguous coal-bearing areas. The Energy Department officials say that the coal mines found by the Geological Survey of India in West Godavari and Krishna districts a few years ago would be a cheaper option for the AP-Genco as the transportation costs would be significantly lower due to their close proximity to the thermal power plants in the State compared to the long distances that had to be covered from the coal mines belonging to SCCL and MCL.It was officially stated by the government that AP-Genco had entered into a fuel supply agreement with MCL for supplying 8.312 Million Tonnes Per Annum (MTPA) for the Dr. Narla Tatarao Thermal Power Station and 1.88 MTPA for the Rayalaseema Thermal Power Plant and that the realisation of coal from MCL has been far from satisfactory in recent times due to heavy rains and labour unrest.