Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: In an effort to ensure long-term linkages, the Coal Ministry has decided to allot as much as 92.38 million tonnes of coal to 236 sponge iron plants, 73 cement making units and 224 captive power facilities.

The Minister of State for Coal, Dasari Narayan Rao, has approved the recommendation of the Standing Linkage Committee in this connection, official sources said.

The 236 sponge iron units, with a total production capacity of 41.5 million tonnes located in 13 States, have been sanctioned long-term linkages of 19 million tonnes of coal annually.

Of the 236 units, 84 are located in Orissa, 48 in Chhattisgarh, 36 in West Bengal, 27 in Jharkhand, 15 in Andhra Pradesh and 8 each in Karnataka and Maharashtra.

A total of 73 cement plants, located in 14 States with an annual capacity of 116.8 million tonnes, have also been granted long-term linkage of 21.4 million tonnes a year. Of these, 43 units are being expanded to contribute 55.6 million tonnes, while another 30 units are greenfield projects with a projected capacity of 61.2 million tonnes.

Twenty-four units are located in Andhra Pradesh alone with a production capacity of 46.25 million tonnes annually.

A total of 224 captive power plants in steel, cement and other sectors have also been approved long-term linkage of 53 million tonnes annually, sources said. These captive power plants are expected to generate 9,211 MW of power and most of these are to be commissioned.