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MMTC bid to import coal for NTPC plant hits `rail'block

Our Bureau

Kolkata , June 8

MMTC Ltd's bid to import through Haldia dock about five lakh tonnes of steam coal from Indonesia in 2005-06 to meet the requirement of Farakka super thermal plant of National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) has run into rough weather.

The Railways has been unable to provide rakes at the rate of one rake every alternate day.

As a result, the first ship, MV Mary F, which brought about 43,016 tonnes was unloaded fully at Paradip.

The original plan was to have the ship partly unload about 25,000 tonnes at Haldia and the balance at Paradip.

However, that did not happen.

The programme for Haldia was cancelled for want of confirmation from the Railways about the allotment of rakes.

Paradip Port Trust, on the other hand, not only ensured the availability of rakes for immediate evacuation of the imported consignment but also completion of unloading within three days, the average rate of discharge being about 14,700 tonnes per day.

The same story is to be repeated in respect of the second ship, "Darya Rani", due to arrive shortly. The ship will be carrying over 40,000 tonnes.

The third shipment is due in the second week of this month.

Unless, MMTC succeeds in securing confirmation from the Railways about the sanction of rakes for transportation of the imported mineral from Haldia to Farakka, it will have no other option but to arrange for the unloading of the entire quantity at Paradip.

Meanwhile, inquiries show that MMTC, which was to import about one million tonnes (mt) of steam coal through Paradip in 2005-06 entirely for NTPC's Kanhia plant at Talcher, is to double the throughput — an estimated 1.5 mt for NTPC and another five lakh tonnes or so for National Aluminium Company (Nalco).

MMTC's original plan was to import 2.1 mt, entirely for NTPC, in 2005-06. The indication is that MMTC might be required to import double the original estimate, i.e. around four mt or so, during the current year due to acute coal shortage facing thermal power plants and other industries.

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