The Arunachal Pradesh government has asked the Union coal ministry to allocate a coal block to the government-owned Arunachal Pradesh Mineral Development and Trading Corporation.
Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu said Arunachal Pradesh had over 55,000 Mw of hydropower potential, but was now striving for a thermal power project to meet its immediate demand. For this, he said, the ministry should adopt the government dispensation route and allocate the block.
In a letter written to Khandu by the coal ministry, dated May 3, a copy of which is with Business Standard, minister Sriprakash Jaiswal said applications would be invited from state or public sector undertakings and processed according to existing norms. “Arunachal Pradesh is now advised to apply when the coal blocks are advertised next, in order to avail of a coal block,” Jaiswal said in the letter. The coal ministry could also allot a coal block collectively to Arunachal along with other state governments.
According to the petition put forth before the coal ministry, non-availability of power was the main reason for investors and entrepreneurs to shy away from Arunachal Pradesh. Also, power for hydroelectric projects was required. “Several corporate groups have approached us, indicating their readiness to join hands with the state government in promoting thermal power plants,” said Khandu.
He noted that since the Arunachal government was planning to set up power plants jointly under a public private partnership( PPP), he wanted the coal block allocation to be in favour of the state government undertaking. This woud help meet power demands for both domestic and industrial consumption. The coal ministry had in 2004 allocated the Namchik Namphuk block, with a reserve of about 27 million tonne, to the Arunachal government for commercial mining under the government dispensation route.