Sunday, May 22, 2022

MCL clarifies, says NALCO should increase offtake to build-up coal stock

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  • Being a pithead plant, NALCO’s Angul plant should prioritise lifting of coal through MGR and road mode, said MCL
  • MCL has sufficient coal stock of 16.5 million tonne available for dispatch to meet the current requirement of its consumers

Sambalpur: A day after a media report claimed that National Aluminium Company (NALCO) was facing an imminent coal crisis as not much coal stock was left, Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL) has stepped up to clarify that it has sufficient coal stock available and NALCO should increase offtake to build up coal stock. “In a section of the press yesterday (on Wednesday) it has appeared that NALCO (National Aluminum Company Limited) is facing acute shortage of coal, particularly at its Angul plant,” said MCL in a statement on Thursday.

“It is therefore clarified that against a firm linkage of 47.16 lakh tonne and a bridge linkage of around nine lakh tonne per annum for Angul plant, which translates to around 15,500 tonne per day, NALCO, Angul had been supplied 53.9 lakh tonne coal from MCL during the FY’22, against FSA, Bridge Linkage and e-auction combined,” it added.

‘NALCO would have sufficient coal stock had it booked more’

NALCO’s Angul plant primarily takes coal from MCL through a dedicated MGR (Merry-Go-Round) system at Bharatpur Area in Talcher coalfields. Additionally, they also have options to lift coal through rail mode, road mode as well as road-cum-MGR mode to supplement their supplies, said MCL.

“The MGR system dedicated to NALCO’s Angul plant recorded an average despatch of only 5,900 a day during the last fiscal. Considering the operational data of the MGR system, which is 30 years old and reports frequent breakdowns, MCL has proposed to take up a major overhaul of the MGR system to improve despatch if NALCO agrees for the discontinuation of supplies from this system during the period of renovation and adopts any other mode of transportation, since Angul plant is located at a distance of 20 km from MCL’s mines,” said MCL.

“Being a pithead plant, NALCO’s Angul plant should prioritise lifting of coal through MGR and road mode. However, in FY21-22, only 3 lakh tonnes in Bridge Linkage was booked in road mode. Had NALCO booked via road mode the remaining six lakh tonne in Bridge Linkage and the shortfall quantity in FSA, sufficient coal stock would have been available at its Angul plant,” the coal miner added.

MCL has 16.5 MT of coal available for dispatch

MCL has sufficient coal stock of 16.5 million tonne available for dispatch to meet the current requirement of its consumers while the company has further augmented production activities to ensure adequate dry fuel is available in the country, said the PSU.

The company, which had registered a record growth of 14 percent in production and 21 percent in despatch of coal during the last financial year 2021-22, has been successful in bridging the demand-supply gap of dry fuel in the country, said MCL.

It is to reiterate that all the non-power sector customers are being allocated coal up to the minimum committed level as per FSA (trigger level). However, MCL is offering 100 percent of Monthly Agreed Quantity (MAQ) of coal to NALCO under Bridge Linkage, as a special measure to specifically support NALCO, said MCL.

“NALCO should also think innovatively to improve the lifting of coal from MCL, in view of rising demand of coal at national level and constraints in getting rakes beyond a certain level,” it added.

During 2021-22, lifting of coal through road mode by NALCO Angul plant had dropped down to a daily average of less than 700 tonne, while it had lifted up to 9,000 tonnes in a day on earlier occasions.

Besides, MCL has also offered NALCO to lift coal through MGR wharfwall siding, which is lying unutilised and can help in transportation of 3,000 tonnes of coal per day, said MCL.

Transportation of coal via rail mode prioritised for power houses

In view of low stock at many power houses and considering the availability of rakes, despatches via rail mode have been prioritised for power houses, especially the distant ones, where supply of coal through alternate modes is not feasible. Therefore, supplementing the shortfall in MGR lifting with rail mode should be avoided. However, MCL is ready to load rakes for NALCO, Angul as and when placed at our sidings. On an average, one rake per day was loaded for Angul plant in March this year in order to supplement the MGR despatch.

NALCO’s Damanjodi plant, located 700 kms from MCL mines, has a linkage of 10.2 lakh tonnes, therefore primarily relies on railway rakes for supply of coal. “Due to our sustained effort and persuasion, an average of one rake per day could be loaded from MCL during February and March 2022, thereby meeting the requirement of the plant and achieving more than 100 percent supply materialisation and liquidation of arrear,” said MCL.

Moreover, during FY21-22, the total supply to Damanjodi plant was 11.3 lakh tonne in FSA and e- auction combined. However, the supply materialisation could have further augmented, had NALCO continued lifting some quantity under Road-cum-Rail (RCR) mode regularly, it added. MCL has suggested NALCO to arrange for lifting coal via RCR for the Damanjodi plant to build stock considering the increased energy demand.

“As we have a long standing and collaborative relationship with NALCO, we are always ready to  explore possibilities to improve materialization by enhancing coal despatch to our esteemed consumers,” said MCL.

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