Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel during a meeting at Chief Minister’s House Raipur on Friday.
CM Baghel assures coal supply to Rajasthan from Chhattisgarh’s PEKB coal block
Legal procedure will be followed in the supply of coal to Rajasthan, said Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh Bhupesh Baghel
Raipur:Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Friday arrived in Raipur to meet his Chhattisgarh counterpart Bhupesh Baghel in person to resolve the coal supply issue that had been made political issue by several political parties time and again. The two chief ministers had an elaborate discussion on the coal block allocation issue.
In recent and past, Gehlot had made several approaches to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and former Congress National President RahulGandhi seeking their intervention so that Chhattisgarh Chief Minister responds to coal allocation issue.
It may be mentioned that the Rajasthan Chief Minister had been desperately seeking attention of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi as well as Centre, Coal India Limited, to get clearance from Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Baghel to secure coal from state-owned coal mines in Chhattisgarh. But, Chhattisgarh government had been assertively blocking the Rajasthan government’s successive attempts by raising certain concerns of tribals and biodiversity in the area.
In a recent letter dated February 10, Gehlotpressed the urgency of matter stating that Rajasthan may face severe blackout since its 4300 MW power plant was on the verge of running out of coal supply due to non-availability of Parsa East and Kanta Basan(PEKB) Coal block in Surguja district. The coal block was allotted by the Ministry of Coal, Government of India to Rajasthan Rajya VidyutUtpadan Nigam Limited (RVUNL), a state government undertaking, for power generation.
In the meantime, the two Chief Ministers, Bhupesh Baghel and Ashok Gehlot, while interacting with the media persons at Chief Minister’s House here affirmed that a meeting of officials from Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan was held in presence of both the Chief Ministers. Rajasthan Electricity Minister Bhanwar Singh Bhati, Chhattisgarh Forest Minister Mohammad Akbar, Chhattisgarh Chief Secretary Amitabh Jain, Additional Chief Secretary Subrat Sahoo, Principal Secretary of Forest Department Chhattisgarh Manoj Pingua, Secretary to Chief Minister Siddharth KomalSingh Pardeshi and senior officers from Rajasthan were present in the meeting, the duo added.
Later, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Baghel said that the excavation work from PEKB Coal block, which was allotted to Rajasthan Government by Government of India, will be done as per the rules, while concurrently ensuring coal supply to Rajasthan for meeting their power crisis situation.
Baghel, however, clarified that the Chhattisgarh government will not compromise on environmental issues and the grievances of local people. The Chief Minister encapsulating the matter further said that the Government of India (GoI) decides allotment of coal. “The previous State government had failed to notify the LemruElephant reserve even after the GoI gave the permission for 450 square kilometer for LemruElephant Reserve since 2007. However, the Congress government in Chhattisgarh notified 1995 square kilometer for the Elephant Reserve, which comprise of 39 coal blocks, including two coal blocks allotted to Chhattisgarh government. “While notify the total area for the reserve, Chhattisgarh government kept in mind the preservation of Bango Dam and the local biodiversity inclusive of local people,” Baghelmaintained.
He further said that Chhattisgarh happens to be key supplier to several key states o fthe country including Goa, Maharashtra, Telangana, Odishawhile it also powers up to thermal power plants of NTPC, BSP and other PSUs through South Eastern Coalfields Limited (SECL).
Baghel, however, lamented that the Chhattisgarh gets only royalty from the coal blocks allotted to States. But, Chhattisgarh gets royalty and premium, when coal blocks are allotted to private companies. “As a result of this, Chhattisgarh has incurred revenue loss of 9 lakhcrores revenue loss in the last 30 years,” he asserted.
Rajasthan Chief Minister Gehlot said that the GoI assesses before the allotment of coal block. Gehlot said that he has come to Chhattisgarh on the behalf of the people of Rajasthan. He appreciated Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel’s concern about environmental issues. He hoped that Chhattisgarh will respond soon.