Centre assures Odisha to address its concern over coal blocks

The Centre on Monday assured Odisha of addressing its concern over the coal block allocation process and helping it get "maximum revenue" from the ongoing auction.

PTI| Updated: Mar 10, 2015, 00:39 AM IST

New Delhi: The Centre on Monday assured Odisha of addressing its concern over the coal block allocation process and helping it get "maximum revenue" from the ongoing auction.

Power Miniser Piyush Goyal who called on Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik here also assured him that the Centre would favourably consider setting up an ultra mega power plant in the state if a proposal is sent to it in this regard.

During the interaction, Goyal also said a significant coal block will be allocated to a State PSU.

"I expressed to the Minister our concern over revenue generation for Odisha (from the coal block auction). The Minister said he would address these issues to see Odisha gets maximum revenue," Patnaik told reporters after the meeting.

Patnaik highlighted to Goyal the concern of the State he shared with the Prime Minister in a letter last month that a large number of coal blocks in Odisha have been earmarked for power sector which witnesses a "reverse bidding" process and puts the State in a comparatively disadvantageous position.

He said that out of nine coal blocks of Odisha earmarked for auction so far, only one coal block has been earmarked for the non-regulated sector.

As a result, a large number of industries in Odisha will be put to great disadvantage due to non-earmarking of adequate number of coal blocks to meet their captive requirements, he told Goyal.

Patnaik said that a "minuscule portion" of benefits would be derived by Odisha as compared to other States from the ongoing coal block auction.

Goyal, seeking to allay the concerns, said the Centre shall address the concerns and ensure the industries in the State do not suffer on account of inadequate availability of coal for meeting the captive requirement and that the State government receives maximum revenue from the coal blocks auction process, said a state government release.

Sources added Goyal also assured Patnaik that the Centre would favourably consider a ultra mega power plant for the state if Odisha sends a proposal in this regard.

He further assured that a large coal block will be earmarked for commercial mining for the benefit of the industries of the State.

In addition, another significant coal block will be allocated to a State PSU, the government statement said.

To a question on BJD's stand on the Land Acquisition Bill slated to be taken up in Lok Sabha tomorrow, Patnaik said they were discussing the matter and make its position clear in the House.

"We are discussimng the matter. You will know our stand in Parliament," he said.