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Coal Ministry

The Standing Linkage Committee of the Ministry of Coal has recommended extension of bridge coal linkage to the captive power plant of aluminium major National Aluminium Company Limited (Nalco) for two more years up to March 31, 2023.The bridge linkage of coal is recommended considering delay in production from the Nalco’s captive coal blocks – Utkal-D and Utkal-E.

“In view of the recommendation of the administrative ministry (Ministry of Mines) and keeping in view the production schedule from Utkal-D coal mine, the standing linkage committee (long term) recommended extension of bridge linkage to Nalco’s Unit 9 and 10 (120 MW each) up to March 31, 2023,” said the Coal Ministry in a recent communication.The Navratna company under the Ministry of Mines had requested the Coal Ministry in November 2020 for extension of bridge linkage to the units for a further period of three years beginning April, 2021.

The company had been allotted Utkal-D and E coal blocks, having a reserve of more than 200 million tonnes of coal, near its captive power plant in Angul district on May 2, 2016 for Units 9 and 10 and proposed Unit 11 and Unit 12, which are 250 MW each. “Though the scheduled date of operation of coal mines was January 2020, it could not stick to the commencement plan for the allotted blocks due to factors beyond its control,” company sources said.

Due to delay in obtaining approval of mining plan for the two blocks, finalisation of lease boundary of Utkal-D, forest clearance of safety zone of Utkal-D and delay in acquisition of land for Utkal-E, Nalco submitted a revised plan to the Coal Ministry on November 12, 2020.

The Ministry of Mines had also requested to consider the proposal of Nalco to continue with bridge linkage coal of 9.8 lakh MT per annum, which is 75 per cent of the annual requirement of 11.9 lakh tonne, to the Units 9 and 10 for another period of three years till Utkal-D coal block reaches near its rated capacity.

The SLC recently recommended a two year extension of bridge linkage on Nalco’s commitment to start production of around 5 lakh tonne from Utkal-D coal block in December, 2022, and ramp up the rated production capacity to around 20 lakh tonne by 2024.