Mumbai: The Maha Vikas Aghadi government expects by March second week clearance from the Central Environment Commission attached to the ministry of environment and forest and the final lease agreement from the ministry of coal for the Gare Palma sector–II coal block located in the Mand Raigarh coalfields in Chhattisgarh’s Raigarh district. Even though the Centre had allocated the coal block spread across a 2,583.486 hectare area with geological reserves of 1,059.761 million tonne (mt) in 2017 to the Maharashtra State Power Generation Company (MahaGenco), the development of mining could not start due to procedural and environmental issues.
Maharashtra Minister of Energy Nitin Raut told FPJ, ''MahaGenco has already received forest clearance and other approvals from the Centre and the Chhattisgarh government. The environment clearance is expected by the second week of March, which will pave way for the company to sign the land agreement with the local authorities. Thereafter, the company expects final lease agreement from the ministry of coal. Already, in 2016-17, it had appointed the Adani group as the mine developer and operator, and the state electricity regulatory commission has granted approval for a coal mining agreement with it.'' He informed that the company is expected to launch the coal production of 23.60 million tonne per annum (mtpa) from March 2022, which will increase to 29 mtpa from the seventh year onwards.
The coal produced from the Gare Palma sector–II coal block will feed MahaGenco's power plants at Koradi, Chandrapur and Parli. The company is planning to set up a plant at a location that is close to the block in Maharashtra or Chhattisgarh to save transportation costs from the rail-head.
State energy department officer said MahaGenco, with 10,000 mw of thermal capacity, annually requires 25 million tonnes of coal though the actual realization is 65 per cent due to production constraints and hurdles in the coal supply due to rain. The company had imported 3 million tonnes of coal in 2019-20 and it plans to import 2 million tonnes for 2020-21. The tender has already been floated for the same. At present, it has a coal stock of 2.7 million tonnes.