T. Ramakrishnan

TNEB joins hands with corporations in Assam, Meghalaya

Facility to come up in Orissa

Special purpose vehicle floated

CHENNAI: The Tamil Nadu Electricity Board (TNEB), which has been in search of additional power to tide over shortage, has joined hands with the Assam and Meghalaya Mineral Development Corporations and Orissa Mining Corporation in developing a coal mine in Orissa as part of its long-term measures to solve the problem.

All the four organisations have floated a special purpose vehicle – Mandakini B Coal Corporation Limited. The new company was registered on February 9, according to a senior TNEB official.

The inaugural meeting of the Board of Directors of the company will take place in Kolkata on Wednesday. Chairman C.P. Singh, Accounts Member S. Kathiresan and Member (Generation) K. Balasubramanian will take part in the meeting.

Named after the coal block allotted to the four States in July 2007, the firm has three representatives from each State on its Board.

The company chairman will be from the four States on rotation basis.

Located in the Talcher coalfields, the block’s coal reserve is estimated at 1,200 million tonnes.

It will be equally divided among the four States. This cannot be supplied to consumers of Coal India against their existing linkages.

The area of the coal block is 15.6 sq. km. At the peak rate, 3.5 million tonnes can be produced annually.

The official explains that different options such as establishment of a pit-head power station or transporting coal to the State and using it here for any project to be proposed in future will be discussed later.

The importance of a coal mine owned by the TNEB can be gauged from the fact that the Board has been dependent on Coal India and its subsidiaries, Mahanadhi Coalfields and Eastern Coalfiels, for meeting the requirements of four thermal power stations. With the installed capacity of 2,970 MW, the stations’ annual requirement is 15 million tonnes. Being located far away from the coal mines, Tamil Nadu is using multiple modes of transport (rail-cum-sea-cum-rail) to bring coal.

For over 15 years, the State government urged the Centre for allotting a captive mine.

As on date, the coal stock available at the stations is around 4.8 lakh tonnes, equivalent to 10 days’ requirements.

Another official explains that in the event of Coal India’s failure to meet its commitment, coal produced from the block can be used to meet the shortfall.

In the last four years, as the Central utility could not fulfil its obligations fully, the Board imported coal, ranging from one lakh tonnes in 2004-2005 to 20 lakh tonnes this year.