The stage is set for a fresh bout between National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) and Coal India Limited (CIL) with the power ministry red- flagging once again the issue of poorquality coal being supplied to the public sector power giant. Senior officials said that since both the power and coal ministries have now come under the same minister, it would be easier to resolve this lingering problem.
A senior official confirmed that the power ministry has taken note of a fresh complaint from NTPC about "excessive stones and boulders in coal being supplied especially from the mines of Bharat Coking Coal Limited", a CIL subsidiary.
NTPC is worried that these stones and boulders can cause damage to the coal handling systems of its power plants.
Power ministry officials appear to be veering around to the view that since the system of third- party sampling of coal quality at loading points, introduced last October, has not addressed the quality issue, there is a need to put in place a system at unloading point as well.
CIL, on the other hand, maintains that during sampling of the fuel at the loading point, stones are separated from coal.
There is also a provision in the fuel supply agreement to compensate NTPC in case stones are found.
There was a running battle between NTPC and CIL over the issue of coal quality last year as well which had to be resolved with the power and coal ministries intervening in the matter. While NTPC had alleged that it was being supplied inferior quality of coal, CIL had hit back by stopping supplies to NTPC plants on the ground that it had not paid its dues.
Trouble began after CIL switched coal pricing from useful heat value method (UHV) to gross calorific value ( GCV) and since then the price was disputed by NTPC blaming coal quality. CIL had said the price was higher the cost of production.
The coal major had claimed that for Rajmahal mines, the cost of production was Rs 550 a tonne while NTPC was paying Rs 360 a tonne when international linked price is Rs 2,200 a tonne.
Courtesy: Mail Today