State-run power utility NTPC Ltd will commence coal production from its captive mine at Pakri Barwadhi, in Jharkhand, from the next financial year, CMD Arup Roy Choudhury said today.

“We have just got the environment clearance and we hope to produce coal from Pakri Barwadhi (in Jharkhand) in 2011-12,” Mr. Choudhury told reporters here.

Pakri Barwadhi has estimated coal reserves of 1.6 billion tonnes, of which at least 700 million tonnes is minable. NTPC will make an investment of about Rs. 1,800 crore to bring the mine on to production.

NTPC wants to secure fuel supplies to feed its growing power generation capacity, which will be augmented from 32,200 MW at present to 75,000 MW by 2017.

“For achieving 75,000 MW of capacity, funds and fuels have been tied up. We need to have coal and gas linkages to be sure of the target we have taken up,” he said.

“We were allotted (eight) coal blocks in the end of 2004 and start of 2007... as per international standards, development of coal mines takes about seven to eight years,” he explained.

The company is also eying coal mines in Australia and Indonesia, for which due diligence is underway.

“We have stationed officers in Australia and Indonesia, they are doing their work,” Mr. Choudhary said, adding that the picture would be clearer by next month.

About any decision on the withdrawal of NTPC’s Rs. 50 crore sponsorship commitment for the forthcoming Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, Mr. Choudhury said, “It is not that we have withdrawn the sponsorship.”

“We have asked them (Orgnising Committee) that we would release the remaining Rs 30 crore after they provide audited accounts for already given Rs. 20 crore by NTPC,” he said.

When asked when NTPC would release the remaining money, as just a fortnight is left for the mega-event, he said, “The happening of the big event is not dependent on this advertising money (to be paid by NTPC).”

More In: Industry | Business