Meghalaya to develop power plant in Odisha

SHILLONG: The State Government has decided to enter into a joint venture to develop a thermal power project from coal sourced out from the Mandakini-B coal block located in Odisha.

The decision to this effect was taken at a State Cabinet meeting held here on Thursday.

Power Minister AT Mondal said that the State would stand to get around 1,320 MW of power divided into two units (2 x 660 MW) from the proposed project.

It may be mentioned that the Union Coal Ministry has allotted the Mandakini-B coal block having a total coal reserve of 1200 million tones to four states – Meghalaya, Odisha, Assam and Tamil Nadu.

Each of the four states would get an equal share of 25 per cent of the coal amounting to 300 million tonnes of coal.

The coal block has been allotted jointly to Odisha Mining Corporation, Tamil Nadu Electricity Board, Assam Mineral Development Corporation and Meghalaya Mineral Development Corporation (MMDC).

“However, out of the 1320MW of power, there is a requirement of around 450MW of power till 2020,” Mondal told reporters after the meeting.

The State Government has mulled to engage MMDC for mine development while the power purchase agreement will be signed in the name of Meghalaya Energy Corporation Ltd (MeECL).

The Mandakini-B coal block was allotted to the four states on July 25, 2007 under Section 3 (3) (a) (i) of Coal Mines (Nationalization) Act, 1973 but there has been a delay in expediting the development of the coal block. The urgency to develop the coal block came after the government of Odisha recently demanded cancellation of the coal block.

“We are going ahead alone with our own power project. The government proposes to have a joint venture in the project with independent power producers,” Mondal added.

Referring to the demand for cancellation of the allocation being made by the Odisha Government, Mondal said the Meghalaya Government is keen to work in the project even if others are opposed to the idea.

“We will see that land is allocated to the selected company in the vicinity of the coal mines within a radius of 100 km if possible to reduce transportation costs,” he said.

Meanwhile, it was informed that Chief Minister Dr Mukul Sangma, while taking strong cognizance of Odisha’s opposition to allocation of the coal block, has written to the Union Coal Ministry expressing Meghalaya’s keenness to develop the Mandakini-B coal block.