Singareni seeks fresh mines outside Telangana

The Singareni Collieries Company Limited (SCCL), one of the largest coal producers in the country, has asked the central government to allocate at least five or six coal blocks in Telangana’s neighbouring states without having to go through the auction route. The Telangana energy department wrote to the ministry of coal over this following the Supreme Court cancelling 214 coal block allocations this September.

SCCL has been planning expansion of its operations for quite some time and had attempted to get additional coal blocks from the Centre over the past few years without much success. Instead, the Centre chose to auction all coal blocks in the country. With non-availability of coal blocks until a few months ago, Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao had asked SCCL to explore the possibility of expanding its operations overseas in countries such as Indonesia, South Africa and Mozambique.

However, the cancellation of the coal block allocations has come in handy. Making SCCL’s case afresh, principal secretary of the energy department, SK Joshi, recently wrote a letter to AK Bhalla, joint secretary of ministry of coal, requesting the Union government to allocate coal blocks to SCCL in states such as Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha.

Official sources said that out of the total 214 coal blocks whose allocations were cancelled, the ministry of coal recently decided to conduct auctions for only 74 blocks. As per Ordinance 5 of 2014 issued by the Centre, coal mines can be allocated to a government-owned company or corporation as long as it does not have private partners in the enterprise.

“SCCL is a government company with 51% of the equity being held by Telangana and 49% by the Centre. There would not be any hurdle for allocating coal blocks to the company without participating in auctions as per the Ordinance,” a general manager of SCCL told TOI.

Currently, Singareni has 32 underground and 16 opencast mines and produces over 50 million tonnes of coal every year.

Officials said the company has entered into agreements with nearly 1,000 companies for supplying coal, including firms that entered into fuel supply agreements (FSA) with SCCL and non-FSA companies. Among the 400 FSA companies, five are power utilities, 46 major cement manufacturers, 11 mini cement plants and 31 captive power firms. Another 577 organisations were non-FSA firms.

Source: Times Of India

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