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Home News Power Sector News Coal shortage-West Bengal may face massive load shedding from March 2009

Coal shortage-West Bengal may face massive load shedding from March 2009

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power minister Mr Mrinal BanerjeeWest Bengal may face long hours of load shedding from March onwards if the state does not receive a temporary linkage from the union coal ministry soon, as coal production from its captive block allotted some times in 2002 can start production only by 2011 due to a delay in receiving environment clearance.

Talking to reporters at the summit on Energy -- East & North East organised by the Indian Chamber of Commerce, The existing block at Tara was alloted sometimes in the 90s and its reserves are set to get exhausted any day. The Panchwara North coal block was allotted in the year 2002 but we managed to receive environment clearance only in July 2008. The block can now start operation only during 2011. In the interim we will require additional supplies to run the new capacities that have come on stream or we will have to face massive loadshedding."

For the uninitiated a tapering linkage is a temporary linkage to coal consumers, who have been allocated blocks where mining is yet to commence. These consumers, West Bengal Power Development Corporation (WBPDCL) in this case, have to be provided coal to sustain production of the its new power units. Such linkages are considered by the Standing Linkage Committee (Long-term) under the union power ministry to facilitate generation in case the development of coal blocks allocated to such consumers does not synchronize with operation of end use plant.

"Currently the total requirement of coal for WBPDCL is about 55,000 tonnes per day but we have been receiving only about 30-35,000 tonnes. This has already deteroriated the situation," said Mr Banerjee. Union minister of state for power Mr Santosh Bagrodia, who was also present at the summit said: "We are looking at the matter."

Sources close to the development said: "WBPDCL will require at least five million tonnes of tapering linkage to start with which can be adjusted later as production from our mines commences."

"By March 2008, an additional 800 mw of fresh capacity will come on stream. All these generation capacities will lie idle if we do not receive this temporary linkage. We have been asking for the linkage for sometime now in the meantime demand for power is rising and if the linkage is not available plant capacities will lie idle," said Mr S Mahapatra, managing director of WBPDCL.

Mr Mrinal Banrejee, also said that coal imports are not viable for West Bengal due to logistics as well as labour problems hence is not viable not the state. "If we are forced to import coal the cost of generation will rise leading to a rise in power tariffs," he said.

Source - Economic times

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