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HC poser to coal company on quality checks at unloading point

The PIL had alleged that due to ongoing war between WCL and MahaGenco, all consumers are forced to shell out more for power

Press Trust Of India  |  Nagpur 

The Bombay High Court sought to know why quality of coal is not being checked at unloading point, and has directed MahaGenco and Western Coalfields Limited (WCL) to file an affidavit in this regard.

A division bench of Justice Bhushan Dharmadhikari and Justice Atul Chandurkar of the Nagpur bench while hearing a PIL yesterday posed some tough questions to Maharashtra Power Generation Company Limited (MahaGenco) and Western Coalfields Limited (WCL) which are locked in a tussle over the quality and quantity of coal supplied and continue to blame each other for coal shortage resulting in power crisis in the state.

The PIL had alleged that due to ongoing war between WCL and MahaGenco, all consumers are forced to shell out more for power.

Also, the primary reason for steep hike in generation cost is less supply of domestic coal and import of costly coal by power utilities, it said.

During the hearing last week, the High Court had quizzed both the public sector undertakings about how quality of coal is assessed and also on joint sampling.

WCL claimed that samples were taken at loading point in the presence of MahaGenco representatives and said that even the Coal Controller found no substance in MahaGenco's complaint about quality of coal. The High Court then asked the WCL to produce some copies of joint sampling report on the next date.

The joint sampling reports claimed that coal had low ash content as per Fuel Supply Agreement (FSA), but the samples were taken at loading point. The petitioner, Anil Wadpalliwar, pointed out that there is no quality check at unloading point and wondered as to how quality of coal suddenly downgrades during transit.

The High Court then asked both the PSUs to file an affidavit about quality checks at both points and explain variation at loading and unloading points. In their affidavit, Coal India Limited (CIL) and its subsidiary WCL stoutly denied allegations pertaining to supply of sub-standard coal levelled by MahaGenco and asserted that 94 per cent of the coal supplied during last three years was of very superior quality.

Even the quantity of contracted coal supplied was as per FSA. On the contrary, MahaGenco has stated that though it makes payment for higher grade coal, it receives coal from the WCL of much lower grade and because of that it has suffered losses to the tune of Rs .1396 Crores in last three years.

First Published: Thu, August 01 2013. 20:04 IST