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Coal Shortage Hits NALCO

Bhubaneswar: With the Aluminium Major, National Aluminium Company (NALCO) facing acute shortage of coal, Odisha Government Wednesday said it would hold a discussion with Mahanadi Coalfields Limited(MCL) to resolve the coal crisis.

Steel and Mines Minister Prafulla Kumar Mallick said: “I will hold discussions with the authorities of NALCO and also the MCL and ensure that the Aluminium Major’s production is not affected due to shortage of coal.”

While the NALCO Bosses are tight lipped over the crisis as both the Mines and Coal Ministries are handled by one Union Minister, several workers’ union of NALCO have raised concern over the coal crisis in its smelter plant at Angul.

Former NALCO CMD, Tapan Kumar Chand said: “The MCL was supposed to provide 5.6 million tons of coal per annum to Nalco. However, the MCL has not been able to supply the agreed amount of coal. Shortage of coal will affect NALCO’s productivity and also its profitability.”

Meanwhile, the workers unions pointed out that there is only 1.55 lakh metric ton of coal in the Nalco’s stock against the normal reserve of 5 lakh metric ton. The company required around 19,000 metric ton of coal every day to run its captive power plant and also smelter at Angul.

The recent state wide driver’s strike has also adversely affected coal supply to the company, Nirmal Chandra Satpathy, a worker union leader at NALCO’s smelter plant in Angul, said adding that the existing coal stock will be consumed in only five/ six days.

As per an agreement between the NALCO and the MCL valid from April 2018 to March, 2023, the later would supply 47.16 lakh Metric Ton(MT) linkage coal and 9 lakh MT of bridge linkage coal to former per annum. However, MCL could supply only 39 lakh MT linkage coal and 3 lakh MT bridge linkage coal in 2021-22, which is less by 14 lakh MT from the agrred volume.

Inadequate supply of coal to NALCO has forced the aluminium major to purchase 200 Mega Watt of power from the State Grid every day between July, 2021 to March, 2022.

Of the 19 units of NALCO’s Captive Power Plant (CPP), eight become functional and generating about 920 MW to 915 MW of power. If the coal supply is not made regular, the more units of CPPs will be closed, the worker union leaders apprehand.