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Rajasthan likely to plunge into severe power crisis if coal not provided from Chhattisgarh

The Central government had allocated three Chhattisgarh-based coal mines to Rajasthan Rajya Vidyut Utpadan Nigam Limited.

Vani Mehrotra Edited by: Vani Mehrotra @vani_mehrotra New Delhi Updated on: May 25, 2022 7:56 IST
Rajasthan power crisis, coal crisis
Image Source : PTI

Rajasthan will plunge into severe power crisis if it fails to get coal from Chhattisgarh

Highlights

  • Vidyut Utpadan Nigam Limited CMD RK Sharma has said the state may see power crisis
  • Sharma said he met the state officials of Surguja in Chhattisgarh over the crisis
  • "Coal supply only enough till June is left," Sharma said

Rajasthan is likely to plunge into a severe power crisis, the state's Vidyut Utpadan Nigam Limited CMD RK Sharma said on Tuesday. Sharma said he had met the state officials of Surguja in Chhattisgarh and had urged them to kick start the production of coal from Parsa East Kente basin phase 2 coal mine.

"Rajasthan will plunge into severe power crisis if it fails to get coal from its coal block in Chhattisgarh," Sharma said. 

He further said, "Coal supply only enough till June is left. If coal is not procured then 2 units of Rajasthan's 4340 megawatts each will face power crisis."

Sharma alleged that Rajasthan is facing hurdles on account of misinformation spread by a handful of professional activists targeting the development of its coal blocks.

"The activists with the help of NGOs are misguiding the tribals of nearby villages. The distractors are arguing that Rajasthan's coal blocks will affect the biodiversity of Hasdeo Arand Forests by undermining Rajasthan's impressive records in afforestation. Rajasthan utility has planted over 8 lakh trees to compensate for the impact on the local ecology to make PEKB Block the model mine in the country," he alleged.

"Further, Chhattisgarh's Forest Department has already planted over 60 lakh trees and is growing. However, we have changed the life of locals of Parsa village by giving them jobs, education and infrastructure. We are also starting a 100-bed hospital in Surguja for the locals," he stated.

"The forest area of Hasdeo Arand is spread over an area of about 1,80,000 hectares. Out of which Parsa East and Parsa mines have been allotted within a total area of 4000 hectares. The said mine area is in that area of Hasdeo Arand forest area where the density of the forest is less. The said area is 2.2 per cent of the total area of Hasdeo Arand," he elaborated.

"After obtaining all the approvals from the Government of India and the State Government, mining work was started in the year 2013 in the Parsa East mine and the excavated coal is transported to the plants of Rajasthan Rajya Vidyut Utpadan Nigam," he explained.

"Mining activity started in 2013 in which the area of forest land was 762 hectares in the Parsa East mine. During the last 10 years, about 80,000 trees were cut and displaced in the mine and in lieu of this, about 3800 hectares of land were marked and transferred to the Forest Department for compensatory afforestation," he claimed.

Centre had allocated Chhattisgarh-based coal mines to Rajasthan

The Central government had allocated three Chhattisgarh-based coal mines - Parsa, Parsa East Kete Basan (PEKB) and Kete Extension to Rajasthan Rajya Vidyut Utpadan Nigam Limited for running its thermal power plants.

Out of the three, RRVUNL was able to extract coal only from Parsa mines, while the operations at the other two sites could not start because of pending environmental clearances.

Following the approvals given by Central Government, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot also visited Chhattisgarh in March and requested his counterpart Bhupesh Baghel to grant the required approvals as RRVUNL was unable to meet its daily coal requirements.

Since the meeting of the two CMs, the required permissions were granted by Chhattisgarh Forest Department, but even then operations could not take off because of the protest by a group of locals who opposed tree cutting activities in the area. 

The distractors have been arguing that Rajasthan's coal blocks will affect the biodiversity of Hasdeo Arand Forests.

As per the law, the mine allottees and the beneficiary state government are required to undertake compensatory afforestation and RRVUNL has already planted over eight lakh trees to maintain the ecological balance. 

(With inputs from ANI)

Also Read | Country has constraints in availability of domestic coal: Govt

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