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Gehlot takes up coal mines issue with Sonia Gandhi as face-off with Chhattisgarh continues

Gehlot takes up coal mines issue with Sonia Gandhi as face-off with Chhattisgarh continues

New Delhi, Dec 20 (UNI) Failing to persuade senior party colleague and Chattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel to accord speedy clearance to coal mines allocated to the state, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has taken up the issue with party President Sonia Gandhi.

In the wake of coal shortage faced by the state power utility, Gehlot is learnt to have written to Gandhi that the delay in mining clearances from the Chhattisgarh government could leave 4,340 megawatt generation capacity in Rajasthan stranded.

He has noted that mineable reserves of two mines fuelling Rajasthan’s power plants since 2013 are expected to be exhausted by the end of this month.

The development has come close on the heels of Rajasthan Rajya Vidyut Utpadan Nigam Limited (RVUNL) taking up the matter with central Coal Ministry complaining of the delay in clearance to its mines by Chhattisgarh government.

Seeking Centre's intervention, the state power utility RVUNL had earlier this month asked the Coal Ministry to impress upon Chhattisgarh government to give stage-II Forest clearance and grant Consent to operate Parsa coal block.

The letter was marked to Chief Secretary of Chhattisgarh government.

The allotment letter for Parsa coal block in Chhattisgarh had been received by RVUNL from Coal Ministry in 2015.

With clearances on hold leading to coal shortage for Rajasthan power utility, Gehlot now wants Sonia Gandhi to step in.

"I have requested the Chief Minister, Chhattisgarh vide letters dated 11th October, 2021 & 15th November, 2021 and over telephone also for arranging these approvals, so that mining from this block can be started and coal can be made available to the state owned power generating station," Gehlot mentioned in his letter to Gandhi.

"It is well known that for last couple of month coal power generating stations are facing acute shortage of coal across India, including Rajasthan," he further said.

With coal shortage exacerbating, Rajasthan power utility is struggling to meet the state’s peak demand of 14,000 MW of electricity at an affordable tariff.

Officials said that the state had to hike electricity tariffs by 33 paisa per unit for the period of next three months due to higher costs of coal and power purchase from the exchanges.

UNI NK SHK1908

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