Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Monday said the Centre has agreed to waive the mandatory rail-sea-rail (RSR) mode condition for coal supply from Mahanadi Coalfields Limited (MCL) to Talwandi Sabo Power Limited (TSPL) in the state. Mann called on Union Power Minister R K Singh in Delhi, said an official release here. He thanked the minister for waiving the mandatory RSR condition for coal supply to the state. Mann had raised this issue with the power minister during a meeting on December 9, 2022, and had also written to him in this regard.
Mann said the Union Minister had apprised him that as far as transport of coal is concerned, the Government of India does not specify any particular route or port and transport is entirely the responsibility of the concerned states or generators, adding that additional coal can be allotted to Punjab from MCL and if Punjab can transport it through any other mode, it is welcome to do so. Punjab's ruling party AAP had earlier slammed the Centre for asking the state government to lift coal using rail-ship-rail (RSR) mode, claiming that it would put an additional financial burden on the state power utility. The power ministry had asked power utility Punjab State Power Corporation Limited to start lifting 15-20 percent of its domestic coal requirement through rail-ship-rail mode.
Flagging another issue, the CM urged Union Minister RK Singh to augment the supply of coal from the Pachhwara Coal mine. The case for enhancing coal supply from captive coal mines at Pachhwara (Central) is currently pending with the Ministry of Coal, said Mann. “The ministry of power has already forwarded the case to the ministry of coal with positive recommendations and the matter is reportedly referred by the Ministry of Coal to the Ministry of Law for legal vetting adding he sought the intervention of the Union Power Minister for expediting the matter,” he said. The Chief Minister also urged Singh to ask Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) for procurement of 3,000 MW of renewable energy round-the-clock (RE-RTC) power for the state.
He said that the PSPCL had communicated its in-principle approval to SECI in August 2022 to procure 3,000 MW of RE-RTC power. Punjab and Madhya Pradesh have complementarity in power demand and SECI was working on a joint proposal, he said. Due to the non-finalization of the standard bidding document, the SECI has not been able to proceed forward in this regard, said Mann, adding that due to this, the matter has been hanging fire since a long. He requested the union minister to intervene so that the ministry may finalize the issue early so that SECI can take steps for procurement of RE-RTC power for the state.
Demanding the allocation of power from coal-based central sector generating stations (CGS) to PSPCL, Mann apprised Singh that there has been a sharp increase in power demand since January due to the failure of winter rains in Punjab. It is also expected that the trend of a sharp rise in demand shall also continue during the harvesting season in the fiscal year 2023-24. Mann said Punjab had met a peak power demand of 14,300 MW during the last paddy season and the ministry of power had sanctioned unallocated power from the central sector generation stations to Punjab during June to September 2022.
He said that the state government is duty-bound to ensure that there is no shortage of power during the ensuing summer and paddy season. Mann said this year the peak power demand of the state is expected to touch 15,500 MW. Therefore, he said that in order to meet demand in excess of 15,000 MW and to meet the additional requirement necessitated by paddy crops, the state needs assistance from the ministry of power for allocating power from its unallocated pool.