November 7, 2016

Coal Block Auction Round 4 Formalities in Last Stage: Minister

Bengaluru: Coal and Power Minister Piyush Goyal on Thursday said the process and formalities of the fourth round of coal block auctions are in the last stage.

“The central government is preparing for the fourth round of coal auctions. The process and formalities of the coal blocks are at the last stage,” he told reporters after meeting officials of state energy department and energy minister D K Shivakumar here.

The first three rounds of coal block auctions had fetched state governments Rs 3 lakh crore spread over 30 years.

Mr Goyal said the central government had given coal block to Karnataka to continue supplies to its power plants, despite objections from Maharashtra.

“In the first round of coal block auctions, six critical coal blocks were all allotted to Karnataka, despite a lot of objection from Maharashtra,” he said.

However, Mr Goyal said Maharashtra can submit an application in the next round for consideration.

Asked if it is right for WTO raising concerns about foreign and domestic investments in solar projects, Mr Goyal said, “Let me examine the order and will see what steps could be taken on the issue.”

On transmission-related issues dogging Karnataka, Mr Goyal said, “There is transmission constraint in Karnataka… and certain transmission corridors need to be set up within the state so that we can evacuate more power to different regions. We are hoping to expand the transmission.”

Meanwhile, Karnataka can buy power from Chattisgarh and Maharashtra for power requirement, especially when power at power exchanges is available at the cheapest of rates, Mr Goyal said.

“Enough power is available in Northern India. Chattisgarh and Maharashtra are the states from where Karnataka buy power. In fact the power is available at the lowest price at power exchanges,” he said.

He said that power tariffs in the exchanges have fallen by more than 50 per cent after the Narendra Modi government came to power.

Asked why Karnataka was facing power shortage if there is surplus power in the country, Mr Goyal said it is because of the transmission problems in the state. Moreover, it takes four to five years to set up transmission lines.

“Transmission plants cannot be set up in 14 months. It takes four to five years to set up transmission lines. What this government has done is to expedite the long-delayed projects. This government has added 22,100 circuit km of transmission lines in India which is a record in Indian history,” he said.

Mr Goyal said that with a capacity of 2,000 MW, a solar project will come up on 10,000 acres in the parched Pavagada taluk of Tumakuru district.

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