EGoM decides against reviewing decision on Sasan excess coal

NEW DELHI, Apr 28: A high level inter-ministerial panel today decided not to review the earlier decision allowing Reliance Power to use excess coal from the Sasan UMPP mines for its another project.
An Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) on ultra mega power projects, headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, decided not to review the past decision after taking legal opinion from the Attorney General G E Vahanvati.
In August 2008, an EGoM had given approval for Reliance Power to divert surplus coal from the Sasan blocks for another project in Chitrangi. Both projects are in Madhya Pradesh.
“We stand by that decision (in 2008)… We cannot review decisions of the past but we can certainly look at the implication of those decisions in changing circumstances and what we need to do in the future,” Law Minister Salman Khurshid told reporters after the EGoM meeting here.
He said the Attorney General gave an opinion on the interpretation of the term “surplus coal” and how it can be utilised.
“We were not reviewing that decision, we were trying to understand that decision based on Attorney General’s opinion and now Attorney General’s opinion has come to fortify… That AG’s opinion has been accepted,” Khurshid added.
“I don’t think there is any need for the next meeting of the EGoM now,” he noted.
“Attorney General had given us an opinion that surplus coal is such coal… That is available after satisfying the needs of a UMPP. Now what to do with the surplus coal is the question and this is to be seen in a context that you have not to discourage a developer from producing coal,” Khurshid said.
Power Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal and Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia are also part of the EGoM.
“Attorney General had interpreted the decision that was taken in 2008 was a correct decision. In subsequent developments that take place, you can’t keep changing decisions of the past.
“For future, of course, he has recommended that policies can be made comprehensive so that… In the future there is no ambiguity,” Khurshid added.
Reliance Power bagged the 3,960 MW Sasan UMPP in 2007 through competitive bidding. The company was alloted Moher, Moher-Almohri and Chhatrasal captive coal mines for developing the project.
At the peak, these blocks’ can produce up to 25 million tonnes of coal per annum. Moher, Moher-Almohri can produce 20 million tonnes while Chhatrasal can produce 5 million tonnes. (PTI)


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