''CIL not in favour of price pooling''
New Delhi, Feb 6 (PTI) Coal India feels price pooling of domestic and imported coal would result in an extra burden on state power utilities which already owe over Rs 5,000 crore to the PSU, according to a Coal Ministry official.
"Coal India Ltd (CIL) has opposed price pooling of domestic and imported coal stating that states would oppose any such decision as this would result in extra burden on their plants, which were so far getting domestic coal on notified prices," the official told PTI on condition of anonymity.
Meanwhile, CIL said the "decision on coal price pooling of domestic and imported coal if taken by the government, Coal India Ltd as a central public sector undertaking would comply with the decision while protecting the commercial and legal interests of the company".
Power utilities including state-run units in West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh owe over Rs 5,000 crore to CIL, the official said, adding that the Coal Ministry has mentioned the same in its 144-page note on price pooling to Cabinet.
Of the Rs 5,000 crore, NTPC, which is yet to sign the fuel supply pact with CIL, has to pay more than Rs 1,000 crore to the coal PSU, he added.
"Independent directors of the PSU are also opposed to any such price pooling mechanism, which according to them might impact the financials of the coal major," a source said.
The PSU''s independent directors had earlier opposed the government decision that Coal India should commit 80 per cent of assured supply to power producers.
Later, the government in April last year had issued a presidential directive asking the coal major supply 80 per cent of committed quantity.
Sources said, in case a decision on price pooling is arrived at, the government might resort to issuing a Presidential Directive for the same.
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs yesterday had deliberated on averaging of prices of domestic and imported coal to get a uniform feedstock price in the country and had asked coal and power ministries to come back with specifics of the proposal.
"The decision in principle has been taken... structure of decision has been put in place ... Coal and Power Ministries will come back with the specifics," Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Manish Tewari had told reporters yesterday when asked whether CCEA had approved price pooling.
Prime Minister''s Office had directed CIL and Central Electricity Authority (CEA) last year to work on price pooling so as to ensure 80 per cent supplies to power plants.
However, the final decision on the issue is pending for long due to differences between the Coal and Power Ministries on how the impact of higher imported coal prices will be shared between CIL and power companies.
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