Coal India Ltd Current Affairs - 2020

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Govt. launches PRAKASH Portal for monitoring coal supply to power plants

Union Power Minister (Independent charge) Raj Kumar Singh and Coal, Mines and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi have jointly launched PRAKASHPower Rail Koyla Availability through Supply Harmony Portal in New Delhi.

About PRAKASH Portal

Objective of Portal: To bring better coordination for coal supplies among all stakeholders.

Need: After rainy season in 2019, coal stocks are higher at 17 million tonne (MT) as compared with over 11 MT in 2018 due to work done by the ministry in this direction. Also the coal production has increased 165 MT in past five years.

Developed By: The portal is developed by NTPC (Electric power distribution company). It sources data from different stakeholders such as CEA (Central Electricity Authority), Centre for Railway Information System (CRIS) and coal companies.

Reports Format: Although all reports are available in PDF and Excel format but to present information in a user-friendly method, the portal gives graphical representation of reports with details shown on the map of India. At present, the portal will make available four reports- Daily Power Plant Status, Plant Exception Report, Coal Dispatch Report and Periodic Power Plant Status.

Function:

The portal is designed to help in mapping as well as monitoring entire coal supply chain for power plants, coal stock at supply end (mines), coal quantities/rakes planned, coal quantity in transit and coal availability at power generating station.

It makes available valuable information on a single platform, which will help coal companies track stocks and coal requirement at power stations for effective production planning.

The Indian Railways will plan to place rakes as per actual coal available at siding and stock available at power stations, but besides this, power stations can also plan their future schedule by knowing rakes in pipe line and also the expected time to reach. Portal will also provide information about coal stock at power generating station.

The Union Ministries of power and coal, Central Electricity Authority (CEA) and Power System Operation Corporation Ltd (PSOCL) can review overall availability of coal at thermal power plants in different regions.

The portal is for transparency and better coordination among stakeholders, including Coal India Ltd (CIL), Indian Railways, power utilities as well as ministries of coal and power, for coal supplies to power plants. It is designed in a way to help in mapping and monitoring entire coal supply chain for power plants.

Significance: The portal is an important step in ensuring adequate availability and optimum utilization of coal at thermal power plants.

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Illegal Coal Mining in Meghalaya: SC directs State Govt to deposit fine

Supreme Court of India has directed Meghalaya state government to deposit Rs.100 crore fine imposed on it by National Green Tribunal (NGT) for failing to curb illegal coal mining with Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).

Key Highlights of Judgement

A SC bench of Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice K M Joseph has directed state administration to hand over illegally extracted coal to Coal India Limited (CIL) which will auction it and deposit the funds with state government.

SC upheld that as per statutory regime brought in force by notification of 15 January 2016 issued under Environment (Protection) Act (EPA) 1986, environmental clearance was required for a project of coal for mining of any extent of area.

SC bench also acknowledged that since Meghalaya has very limited sources of revenue and it allowed it to transfer Rs.100 crore to CPCB would be used for restoration work from Environment Protection and Restoration Fund (EPRF).

Evidence: Allegations of environmental degradation by illegal and unregulated coal mining has taken place in Meghalaya were fully proved from report of Meghalaya State Pollution Control Board, report of committee headed by former High Court Judge B P Katakey (or Katakey Committee), and report of experts, which all proved environmental degradation of water, air and surface.

Coal lying in Open: SC clarified that all extracted coal as assessed by Meghalaya government lying in different districts which as per order of NGT is in custody of state shall be handed over to Coal India Ltd. (CIL) for proper disposal. Katakey Committee after discussion with CIL and Meghalaya shall formulate a mechanism for transport, weighment of all assessed coal. The apex court had earlier refused to allow miners to transport extracted coal lying at various sites in Meghalaya.

Allowed Sites: SC bench has allowed mining operation to go on in Hills districts of Meghalaya on either privately or community owned land, but it is subjected to lease or required permissions from concerned authorities.

Background

On 13 December 2018, total of 15 miners were trapped in an illegal coal mine in East Jaintia Hills district of Meghalaya, about 3.7 km deep inside a forest, when water from nearby Lytein river gushed into it. So far only two bodies have been recovered from mine.

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