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Generation at Lehra Mohabatt hit by reduced coal supply by PANEM
The generation at 920 MW Lehra Mohabatt thermal plant has already hit due to reduced coal supply by PANEM. PSPCL authorities have already closed one 210 MW unit to preserve coal for paddy season. Another unit is likely to be closed after unit at Ropar is restored. As on May 4 Lehra Mohabatt thermal has 12 days of coal stock only while Ropar thermal has 31 days of coal stock.

PANEM is a joint venture of PSPCL & EMTA supplying coal to thermal plants from captive coal mines. In case of Lehra Mohabatt thermal plant PANEM meets 85% of its coal requirement. A senior PSPCL official alleged that PANEM has been arm twisting the PSPCL management for getting favorable coal testing results by reducing the coal supply particularly for Lehra Mohabatt thermal plant. The firm had been challenging the coal testing results at PSPCL thermal plants but without any major relief

PANEM has been dispatching more coal rakes to Ropar thermal plant while maintaining reduced supply for Lehra Mohabatt thermal plant. In March, 37 racks were sent to Lehra Mohabatt against 55 racks to Ropar. Similarly, in April, only 23 racks have been consigned to Lehra where as 57 racks have been consigned to Ropar. PSPCL has been forced to divert 14 rakes meant for Ropar to Lehra Mohabatt.

As per coal purchase agreement payment is made to PANEM by the grade of coal supplied. PANEM is to supply coal of Grades A to E and in case coal supplied is grade F then 19% cut on coal price is to be imposed by PSPCL.

It may be mentioned that a single change of grade makes difference of lac of rupees per rake. The cost of one rake of coal (app. 4000MT) for C grade is 54 lakh, 48 lakh for D grade, 41 lakh for E grade and 26 lakh for F grade. Any upward revision in grade leads to gain varying from 6 to 15 lakh for one rake.

After the issue of variance in coal testing results was highlighted last August PSPCL shuffled some of the officials related to coal sampling and testing. A committee was formed in September last year to investigate and suggest remedial measures are yet to give its final report. It is learnt that some benefits have already been given to PENAM on recommendation of a committee.

In first three months of 2013 Lehra Mohabatt thermal received 144 coal rakes and there was no C grade coal, 11 rakes were of D grade 114 rakes of E grade and 19 rakes of F grade. At Ropar thermal out 0f 163 rakes received 6 were of C grade, 54 of D grade, 97 of E grade and balance 6 were of F grade.

A senior PSPCL official on the condition of anonymity alleged that higher authorities are verbally asking testing officials/engineers to relax the testing so as to get the supplies normalized. PSPCL is also trying to get coal from CIL which is costlier and inferior in quality than captive coal mine.

A senior official said that PANEM may be right partially as they are incurring extra charges towards transportation by road from mine to railway siding. The moisture contents in coal being supplied are another problem. PANEM is also facing some problem from Railways. Another official said that most of the staff at headquarter dealing with coal has not been shuffled for years and there may be vested interests in their long stay.

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