Angul, July 27: Acute shortage of coal compelled National Aluminium Company (Nalco) to shut down two units of its 960MW captive power plant here even as it blamed Mahanadi Coalfields Limited (MCL) for the crisis.
Nalco officials claimed MCL authorities were deliberately under supplying coal to it, even as the authorities of the latter said the production at Bharatpur mines, from which Nalco captive power plant’s supply was sourced, was producing only 6,000MT against the normal 35,000MT.
The current crisis, they said, stemmed from the stoppage of rakes supplied by the railways for transportation of coal to Nalco.
Nalco CMD C.R. Pradhan, however, contested the claim of the MCL authorities saying: “The MCL is deliberately under-supplying coal. The MCL is supplying coal to other states from the Bharatpur colliery, which was earmarked for us, undermining our interest.”
He said a conveyer was built to cart coal from the Bharatpur mines to Nalco captive power plant 25 years ago.
It developed snag this April and should have been rectified by MCL, but it is passing the buck on others.
He said Nalco doesn’t need railway linkage because the power plant is just 10km from the colliery and the conveyer belt was doing the needful.
“When MCL officials are citing shortage of rakes as the reason behind the crisis, they are bluffing,” Pradhan, who has rushed to New Delhi to take up the matter with the coal ministry and the railways, said.
The captive power plant, which was being provided 14,500 metric tonnes of coal from the Bharatpur Colliery of MCL daily, was getting around 9,000MT of coal and its stock had come down to barely 25,000 tonnes from earlier 1.20 lakh tonnes.
“This coal stock may last barely a day or two. It has forced us to source 100MW from the Grid Corporation of Orissa Ltd,” a source said.
If the coal crisis continues, it would have a serious bearing on the smelter having 720 pots.
It requires more than 600MW of power continuously to keep operational. On an average, 715 pots function in the smelter.
Nalco had faced coal shortage last month as well following short supply by the MCL.