Ropar: Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Friday said that state has taken leap towards being power surplus as none of the Thermal Power plants will face any sort of coal shortage in the state.
The Chief Minister, who welcomed the first coal rake from state’s captive Pachwara Mines, said that the day is not far when Punjab will be the lone power surplus state in the country. He said that no power cut was imposed in state during previous paddy season as Punjab produced 83 percent more power from previous years. Bhagwant Mann envisioned that with the resuming of coal supply from Pachwara mine the production will enhance manifolds.
The Chief Minister said that power is the engine of growth and development, due to which his government is focusing on enhancing its generation. He said that it will help in putting the state on high growth trajectory of industrial growth. Bhagwant Mann said that this in turn will help in creating new vistas of employment for the youth.
The Chief Minister said that the Pachhwara coal mines were allotted to state but have been closed since 2015. He said that though the matter had been pending in Supreme Court of India but none of the previous governments bothered to get the supply of coal resumed. However, Bhagwant Mann said that after assuming the charge of office his government raised the matter in March 2022 and with proper arbitration the supply of coal has been resumed.
Chief Minister said that Coal production at Punjab state’s captive mine Pachhwara Central has commenced now and this mine has sufficient surplus coal for transfer state. Bhagwant Mann said that total capacity of the Mine is 70 lakh tonne per annum. He said that there will not be any requirement of imported coal for the power plants of Punjab in future.
The Chief Minister further said that the state government will review all the Power Purchase Agreements (PPA) inked during previous governments. He said that anyone who has committed crime against Punjab and Punjabis will not be spared for their unpardonable sin. Bhagwant Mann said that cases will be registered against culprits who had plundered the state exchequer
The Chief Minister asserted that with resumption of coal supply PSPCL will directly save Rs. 600 crore annually while another Rs. 520 crore will be saved with total dependence on domestic coal, besides saving another Rs. 1500 crore from supply of excessive coal to private players. He said that Coal of Pachhwara mines have only 32 percent ash content as compared with 41 percent Ash Content in coal from other sources. Bhagwant Mann said that he had raised the issue of discontinuing supply of coal through Rail-Ship-Rail (RSR) mode with the Government of India.
The Chief Minister said that he had urged the Union Power Minister to review this decision of Government of India and allow 100% supply of coal to the state through Direct Rail Mode instead of existing RSR mode. He bemoaned that transportation of coal via RSR mode will result in massive increase in landed coal cost by about Rs. 1600 per MT thereby causing an additional financial burden of about Rs. 200 Crore every year. Bhagwant Mann said that as state is located farthest from mine hence transportation cost is 60% of the total landed coal cost.