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Power Minister Not Aware About CAG Report

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Power Minister Sushilkumar Shinde Thursday said he was not aware of the Comptroller and Auditor General's (CAG) report that has reportedly pegged a Rs 10.7 lakh crore loss to the exchequer due to coal allocations between 2004 and 2009.

"I am not aware about the report," Shinde told reporters here in response to a query on the draft CAG report.

According to a media report, CAG has said that allocation of 155 coal acreages between 2004 and 2009 to about 100 firms resulted in a notional loss of Rs 10.7 lakh crore to the exchequer.

The report comes against the backdrop of many sectors, primarily power, grappling with acute coal shortage.

Commenting on the issue, NTPC - one of the entities that was allotted coal mines during 2004-09 period - said it has not reaped any windfall profits.

"There is no way by which NTPC can make windfall profit out of the coal produced from these mines as under the CERC regulated regime the cost of coal from these mines will be pass-through in the power tariff...

"Therefore, it will only help to reduce the ultimate cost of power at the end-user," NTPC chairman and managing director Arup Roy Choudhury said.

Fuel accounts for about 80 per cent of tariff of power produced from a coal-fired plant.

"We have not seen the details of the CAG report, therefore, we are not able to give any firm comment on this matter," Choudhury said.

According to him, the mines were allocated to meet some portion of its coal requirement since Coal India is not able to meet the company's growth rate.

"These mines, which were allocated to NTPC, had to be developed i.e. surveys, soil investigation, environmental clearance, mining plan approval, etc. were to be done by NTPC before any activity could start.

"Now, at one of the mines allocated removal of over- burden has been started, MDO (Mine Developer cum Operator) has been appointed for one more mine and appointment of MDO for two more mines is in the process," he noted.