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Odisha wins back Manoharpur coal blocks

OCPL was a joint venture floated by the state government since OPGC having 49 per cent equity by a private player (US-based AES Ltd), was not eligible for securing a coal block under the PSU dispensation route

BS Reporter  |  Bhubaneswar 

The frenzied efforts of Odisha Power Generation Corporation (OPGC), the only state owned thermal power generator here, to regain two lost coal blocks, have finally bore fruit.

Odisha Coal & Power Ltd (OPCL), a 51:49 joint venture (JV) between OPGC and another state entity Odisha Hydro Power Generation Corporation (OHPC), has been awarded the Manoharpur and dipside Manoharpur coal blocks- the same blocks that OPGC had won originally but were deallocated by a Supreme Court order last year.

"It has come to our notice that OCPL has been awarded the Manoharpur and Manoharpur dipside blocks, the blocks that we had lost because of the Supreme Court order. This has come as a huge boost for OPGC's ongoing 1320 Mw expansion at Ib valley", said Suresh C Mohapatra, principal secretary, energy and chairman of OPGC.

OCPL was a joint venture floated by the state government since OPGC having 49 per cent equity by a private player (US-based AES Ltd), was not eligible for securing a coal block under the PSU dispensation route. The Coal Ordinance (now Coal Mines Special Provisions Bill) demanded that a government company need to have at least 74 per cent stake in a JV for being eligible to get a coal block.

Last year, Odisha's energy minister Pranab Prakash Das had written to Coal minister Piyush Goyal, pitching for awarding the two coal blocks again to OPGC. The minister cited that the PSU had made considerable progress on its proposed 1320 Mw expansion at its Ib valley plant.

The state government had recommended grant of mining lease (ML) in OPGC's favour in December 2012. But the matter was held up by the Ministry of Coal, Das stated in the letter.

Land acquisition for the Manoharpur coal mine had gained momentum. Out of 1190.60 acres government land applied by OPGC, 1041.76 acres was sanctioned. Similarly, 825.72 acres of 1362.35 acres of private land was also sanctioned for the coal mine development.

OPGC runs a 420 Mw (2x210) plant presently at the station. The expansion plan would add 1320 Mw capacity to the power station. The expansion plan is being taken up at a cost of Rs 11,547 crore which also includes cost of other components like coal block development and dedicated rail corridor.

The state owned generator has already started construction work on its expansion. To fund the expansion, OPGC has already tied up funding of Rs 8660 crore from Power Finance Corporation (PFC) and Rural Electrification (REC), by executing a loan agreement with the two Central PSUs. The balance funding is to be borne proportionately by the Odisha government and AES which hold 51 per cent and 49 per cent stake respectively in OPGC.

Power equipment major Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL) has bagged Rs 4051 crore contract from OPGC for supply and erection of the main plant for 1320 Mw capacity expansion pursued by the thermal power producer.

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First Published: Wed, March 25 2015. 20:15 IST