Turf war between Mahagenco, WCL intensifies

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 01 Feb 2018 10:25:05


Staff Reporter,

Both Power and coal utiltiies blame each other for dismal coal supply scenario

HC unhappy over blame game between two PSUs dealing with critical power sector

The ongoing turf war between coal and power companies has once again intensified with Western Coalfields Limited (WCL) squarely blaming the State power generating utility-Mahagenco for its inability to lift the domestic coal from mines of WCL and other coal subsidiaries of Coal India Limited (CIL).

In its affidavit filed before Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court in a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by a vigilant citizen Anil Wadpalliwar blasting both utilities for turf war over supply of quality coal due to which costly coal was imported, power situation got worsened and burden was passed on to hapless consumers, WCL also blamed shortage of Rail rakes for unsatisfactory supply of cheap domestic coal from railway sidings and expressed its inability to improve the supply in short run while passing the buck on Railways and Power utility to improve mechanism to lift coal.

Power generation capacity of Mahagenco is 10,380 MW and Mahagenco has coal linkage of 56.529 MMTPA from Coal India and its subsidiaries like WCL, SECL, SCCL MCL etc. Due to less materialisation of domestic coal by CIL, thermal power plants at Maharashtra are receicing inadequate coal as compared to actual requirement and order placed.

According to Mahagenco, during 2017-18, from WCL coal realisation was 67.54% while from MCL it was 47.69% and from SECL it was barely 33.62%. From SCCL it was 47.41% and thus as against the coal linkage of 32,469 million metric tonne the Mahagenco received only 19,127 mmt or barely 58.58 % making critical shortage of coal reserve with power plants.

The coal utilities have refuted the allegation and WCL claimed that it had supplied upto 91% of the contracted coal quantity to the State power utility and wondered as to why WCL was being unnecessarily dragged despite diligently supplying coal to thermal power stations of Mahagenco. As against annual contracted quantity of 260.49 lakh tonnes, the pro-rate quantity for April to December 2017 was 191/15 lakh tonne and during this period, WCL had supplied 157.17 lakh tonne or 82.22 of the contract quantity.

The WCL squarely blamed Mahagenco for not finalising adequate transport contract for lifting of coal by road mode from Bhatadi Open cast, Gondegaon and Kamptee mines.
However, Mahagenco claimed that barely 5 per cent quantity is transported by road and charged WCL with trying to paint a misleading picture. WCL affidavit also confirmed the Mahagenco figures about less realisation from other coal subsidiaries while claiming that due to lack of rail wagons, coal could not be supplied, though it is available in ample quantity.

Petitioner’s counsel Adv Shreerang Bhandarkar, while blasting coal and power companies wondered as to why under same constraints costly imported coal reached its desired destination without any hindrance and wondered whether the coal was really imported or only domestic coal was re-routed by fabricating the import documents.

Adv Bhandarkar launched a blistering attack against power and coal utilities and charged them with messing up this critical sector. The State is reeling under power outage due to monumental mismanagement of coal procurement, he claimed while apprehending that if urgent steps are not taken, the state may face unprecedented power crisis during ensuing summer months and this can be used as a ploy to import costly coal. A division bench consisting of Justice Bhushan Dharmadhikari and Justice Manish Pitale after hearing all sides, also directed to join Railways as party-respondents since coal companies have specifically blamed it for poor coal realisation.

The High Court also sought to know from Assistant Solicitor General of India Ulhas Aurangabadkar about progress made in procuring information from Singreni Coal and cautioned that failure of coal subsidiary to furnish information to high law officer and constitutional court would be viewed very seriously.

Adv Shreerang Bhandarkar appeared for the petitioner. Adv Rakesh Rathod (Mahagenco), Addl GP Deepak Thakre (State) Adv S C Mehadia (CIL-WCL), ASG Ulhas Aurangabadkar and Adv Mugdha Chandurkar (Union of India), Adv S V Purohit (MERC) appeared for the respondents.