FICCI Raises Concerns Over Idle Coal Blocks In Odisha

Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) has raised concerns over nine coal blocks lying idle in Odisha. Only three of the 12 coal blocks auctioned since 2015 are in operation. The industrial body urged the State government to take steps to sort out issues relating to land acquisition and approval of statutory clearances.

In a letter addressed to Chief Secretary Suresh Mahapatra, FICCI secretary general Dilip Chenoy expressed his concerns over coal blocks allotted to five public sector undertakings and four private companies that are yet to begin operations due to lack of clearances.

“I would take this opportunity to bring to your kind notice that 12 coal mines have been allocated and auctioned in Odisha since 2015 having production capacity of 97 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) which will generate revenue of over `7,000 crores every year for the State exchequer, creating over 1 lakh direct and indirect local jobs,” Chenoy said.

The only blocks that have been operationalised are the Dulanga coal block of NTPC, OCPL’s Manoharpur and the Talabira II and III allocated to Neyveli Lignite Corporation.

Meanwhile, the Utkal-D block of NALCO, Baitarani West of OMC and Naini block of Singareni Collieries Company Ltd (SCCL) have been idle for the last six years. Currently, two other coal blocks allotted to Karnataka Power Corporation and Gujarat Electricity Corporation are also idle. Similarly, several other coal blocks are yet to be operationalised.

The cumulative reserve of coal in the 12 blocks is over 3,376 MT with a production capacity of 97 MTPA. The State will get annual royalty to the tune of Rs 7,287 crore if all the annual production capacity is achieved, said FICCI.

Chenoy believes that operationalising the coal blocks can provide a boost to the state economy. “One of the key measures to revive the economy, in the current scenario, could be expeditious operationalisation of the already allocated coal blocks”.

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