The state has got another shot at generating power for its industrial needs, with the Centre offering it a coal block at the Singrauli coalfield in Madhya Pradesh, sources said.
Goa Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC), on behalf of the Goa government, had applied for two tranches that are part of the Dongri Tal Phase II coal block of the Singrauli coalfield, a GIDC official said.
The coal block, if accepted by the GIDC, could address Goa’s power needs for the next 15-20 years due to the high coal reserves at the Dongri Tal Phase II tranche 5, the official added.
“Yes, Goa has been allocated a coal block and the file has been moved for cabinet approval,” GIDC chairman Glenn Ticlo told TOI when asked to confirm the development. The corporation’s managing director, S V Naik, said the cabinet would have to decide how the coal block will be operated.
The GIDC would operate the block on behalf of the Goa government if the latter’s approval comes through, sources said. The coal block proposal may come up soon before the cabinet, given that there is a huge financial implication, report agencies.
Sources also said that the government needs to decide on whether to apply for tranche 6 of Dongri Tal or to accept tranche 5, which has been successfully allocated to the GIDC. Tranche 5 has high coal reserves and could be used to supply a power generation plant.
Since 2016, the GIDC has tried to get its hands on a coal block to meet Goa’s industrial power requirement. In 2018, the Union ministry had written to the state government informing that new coal blocks were in the process of being allocated to states and government corporations.
An earlier attempt to source coal and then supply it to a private power company failed miserably in 2014, when the Supreme Court quashed the allocation of the Gare Pelma sector-III coal block in Chhattisgarh, along with many others, on the grounds that the allocations were done in an arbitrary, non-transparent manner and were against public interest.
The block, which was allotted to Goa on November 12, 2008, was meant to take care of the state’s power needs – both domestic and industrial – for five to 10 years.