Companies & Sectors
Coal India signs fuel supply agreements with 27 power plants

 

While the PMO is slated to convene a meeting on Friday to iron out issues in the pact, mainly the penalty clause, Coal India has inked fuel supply agreement (FSA) with several power units

New Delhi : State-owned Coal India Ltd (CIL) has entered into fuel supply agreements with 27 power units, including Adani's Mundra Power plant in Gujarat, reports PTI.
 
The signings come even as the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) is slated to convene a meeting on Friday to iron out issues in the pact, mainly the penalty clause, which have kept power firms like NTPC from inking the fuel supply agreement (FSA) with CIL.
 
"So far, CIL has signed FSAs with 27 power units like Adani's Mundra," a source close to the development said.
 
"A few days back the coal PSU has entered pacts with six units of Bajaj Hindustan," the source added.
 
Other power units with whom the coal PSU has signed FSAs include Lanco Anpara Power, Reliance Power's Rosa Power Project and CESC.
 
The government had issued a presidential directive to CIL in April to sign FSAs with the power producers assuring them of at least 80% of the committed coal delivery.
 
The directive was given to the PSU, as it did not meet the deadline of 31st March set by PMO for CIL to enter into agreements with power producers which were facing fuel crunch.
 
CIL is to supply fuel to 48 power units as per the directive. Failing to provide power units a minimum of 80% fuel, of the total contracted, CIL will attract a penalty.
 
The PSU had earlier said it was difficult to give a time frame for signing all of the pacts as the company was signing FSA as and when the power companies came forward.
 
The model FSA format includes clauses like penalty of 0.01% in case of failure to adhere to it and 80% trigger level.
 
The minimum penalty clause in the FSA is a bone of contention between Coal and Power ministries, as the power companies are opposed to penalty clause which states that CIL is not liable to pay penalty for the first three years of the pact even if there is supply shortfall.
 
The PMO meeting is to be chaired by Prime Minister's Principal Secretary Pulok Chatterji and likely to be attended by senior Coal and Power Ministry officials, besides chairman and managing director of CIL, S Narsing Rao.

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Why Western Ghats are to be saved at all costs

The Western Ghats, with its numerous species of plants, birds and animals is soon to be upgraded to the status of World Heritage sites. Citizens and activists should take steps to preserve and protect this priceless legacy

All of us living anywhere in Maharashtra, from the north-west going south-west to the east along coastal belt known as Kokan Kinara/Patti, in Goa, Karnataka, Kerala and further east to Tamil Nadu, ought to know that we dwell atop a sacred grove on the Sahyadri Range also known as the Western Ghats. This environmental belt which is designated one of the world’s ten top bio-diversity hot spots is soon to be upgraded to the status of World Heritage sites.

The Western Ghats today are home to over 5,000 species of flowering plants, 139 mammals, 508 birds and 179 amphibian species and possibly many more still lying hidden and yet to be identified, 325 of these are now officially classified as endangered. The Worldwatch Institute reports that on an average of 52 species per year move closer to extinction on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Endangered Species.

All throughout geological times nature has resorted to a churning process to deal with changes in bio-diversity and extinction of species. At no time has the overwhelming loss been more pronounced and felt as today. And regrettably nothing seems to being done to prevent the mass environmental degradation on an extremely large scale. To reverse the bio-diversity losses that are essentially brought in by human-driven elements—migration caused by habitat changes; over-exploitation of natural resources, more particularly of water and forests; pollution of the atmosphere, water, air and noise; induction of invasive alien species and climate changes. All these acts defeat nature’s inbuilt balancing mechanisms of reparation and rejuvenation in the birth and death cycle to conserve resources reduce exploitation and pollution and to a great extent ensure human survival and well-being.

While the state regulatory intervention has to play a decisive role in the entire reparation and rejuvenation process, it is the local community grass-root level individual-led effort by the citizenry at large that is required on a much larger scale to make a definite impact to bring about substantive changes. More particularly sustained efforts are required to be put in by dedicated groups comprising civil society, religious and educational institutions and even smaller pockets of all local simple housewives, kids and elders.

We are witnesses to the present day Bishois and Chipko movements in rural India that are totally devoid of any political overtures whatsoever. When simple village folks like these in remote rural areas can usher such dramatic changes, there is no reason why it can’t be replicated here and now more so, under our very noses when the very continued existence of a natural resource and our humans are at stake.

The Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel, headed by National Advisory Council member and ecologist Madhav Gadgil, has in its report proposed that public land should not be converted in private land. “For all settlements and built areas, certain types of areas would be no-go areas, including water courses, water bodies, special habitats, geological formations, bio-diversity rich areas and sacred groves.”  It has recently designated 142 talukas as ecologically sensitive areas to ensure that the current moratorium on new environment clearances for mining, polluting industries and power plants are not extended till the completion of the Carrying Capacity Analysis.

The expert panel has also identified Wadgaon, Paud and Bhor areas all on the Ghats as highly eco-sensitive and recommends that no new hill station or SEZ (special economic zone) be permitted here. It further recommends that all states appoint bio-diversity management committees across all local bodies by including citizens and environmentalists with powers to decide on land-use designations. It goes to point out that the Maharashtra state government has so far not implemented the 10-year old Indian Biological Diversity Act, 2002, in the state. This report recommends “In Environment Sensitive Zone-1, change in land use should not be permitted from forest to non-forest or agriculture to non-agriculture, except agriculture to forest and except when existing village settlements are extended to accommodate an increase in population of local residents. Same for Environment Zone -2.”   

The expert panel warns—“Infrastructure is built with inert and non-renewable material like cement, steel, bricks and quarried stone. Palace-like houses are replete with ACs, TVs, marble and similar luxuries. Consequently a weekend home becomes more lavish and energy consuming than a city home.”
         
In recent years many high profile business tycoons have been carrying out massive construction activity all over the Ghats zone, more particularly along the Mumbai-Pune area on land holdings of 10-500 acres apart from the huge Amby Valley and Lavasa projects. All these have resulted in large-scale vegetation cutting, massive roads construction and landscaping, gardens with excessive resource consumption, laying out non-native plants, large lawns requiring large quantities of water, fertilizers and pesticides all that are very dangerous to bio-diversity, that can in no way be compensated by any new artificial greening activity by the introduction of invasive alien plant varieties that are extremely harmful to local eco-sensitive systems. Construction of farmhouses, resorts and townships have resulted in cutting of hills and bring about physical changes due to terracing. “Modifications in hydrological patterns, terracing causes removal of vegetation and soil with changes in hill topography.  Dumping of construction debris like stones, sand and stones and quarrying for stones, murrum and earth causes further displacement. Areas for paving to be restricted by ensuring there is no change in the run-off/permeability of the plot. In paving the recharge from other areas has to be enhanced.”  

Environmentally concerned citizens of Maharashtra should take up the matter with the National Green Tribunal regarding the Maharashtra urban development ministry’s notification of 21st May converting seven villages in the Mulshi taluka of Pune district by designating them as a “hill station”. This is a blatant disregard of the high powered expert committee recommendation.

The Western Ghats for the devout Indians, always remain sacred groves, inspiring deep insight into religion, life and living in their vast connect with their epics like Ramayana, Mahabharata, Brahma and Narada Puranas.

The Ramayana describes the Ghats—“Majestic great mountains with brightly coloured peaks, woods rich in flora and extensive forest tracts of sandalwood and are comparable with the Himalayas for their rivers and sacred locales.”    

The Ghats are homes to numerous shrines beginning with Panchavati on the banks of the Godavari at Nashik  where Rama stayed with Sita and Laxmana, Gokarn and Ankola in Uttara Kannada, Mangeshi and Shanta Durga at Goa, the Vidyashankara and Adi Shankara’s Sharadapeetha with a number of Hindu, Buddhist and Jain sculptures at Sringeri on the banks of the Tungabhadra, Mookambika, described as a Jyotirlinga incorporating both Shiva and Shakti, at Kollur is surrounded by the Kodachatre mountain range and dense forests, Udupi Shri Krishna, Mulki, Dharmasthala, Kukke Subramanya, Horanad Annapooreshwari. The towering Gomateshwara at Sharavanbelegola and Karkala are sacred to the Jains. There are 14 shrines built at Chandragiri Hills where Emperor Chandra Gupta Maurya, after renouncing his kingdom settled down with his Guru Bhagwan Bhadra Bhanu Swami. The emperor is buried here. Further south at Kerala is Sabarimalai, the abode of Ayyappa, who presides over a thickly forested area on the Pumba River. Going east to Tamil Nad, the River Tamarapurani rises in the Agastamalaya, reaching downstream to the Papanasham Tirtha which is referred to in the Shiva and Kurama Puranas and also in the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.  Besides the Catholics have old churches in Goa, Kerala and Chennai; St Aloysius at Mangalore replicates Vatican’s Sistine Chapel. The Muslims have a sizable number of mosques all along too.

We have inherited this Earth from our forefathers and now hold it in trust for our children.

Consequentially, this makes it is our sacred duty to save, preserve and protect this priceless legacy on which we are sitting. We need to ensure that the enactments to protect environment, that includes air, water and air, are strictly adhered to, rigorously implemented and enforced at all levels.

Let the global environmental concerns be addressed by world leaders at high-level international fora at Rio de Janeiro and Kyoto.

(Nagesh Kini is a Mumbai-based chartered accountant turned activist.)

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COMMENTS

Amol Kelkar

4 years ago

Not at all surprising considering Chender Baljee's track record. To consider he is an IIM-Ahmedabad graduate. There may be more skeletons in the cupboard.

malq

4 years ago

It is, in addition, the guest list of assorted officials, bankers and others for such events which is more interesting - since many of them make it to such events on official business too.

Amul says will not raise milk prices this year

 

In the last 2 years there have been price increases but this year due to surplus availability there is very little chance of a hike, Amul said

New Delhi: The Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF), which sells milk and dairy products under the Amul brand, is unlikely to further increase milk prices this year on account of surplus availability, a top company official said, reports PTI.
 
"Milk prices this year will be very stable as the availability of milk is good," said RS Sodhi, managing director, GCMMF.
 
Amul, the country's leading milk supplier, had in April this year raised milk prices by upto Rs2 per litre in Mumbai, Gujarat and Delhi. In the last fiscal, GCMMF had announced a hike of around 14%-15% in milk prices.
 
"In the last 2 years there have been price increases but this year due to surplus availability there is very little chance of a hike," Sodhi added.
 
As per the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB), India is the largest milk producing nation in the world with an output of 121 million tonnes in 2010-11 fiscal and a global production share of about 17%.
 
According to government data, the per capita milk availability rose to 281 gm per day in 2010-11 against 278 gram per day in 2009-10 on account of growing output.
 
Amid surplus availability of milk, the government also lifted the ban on export of skimmed milk powder last month to improve finances of dairy firms and help milk producers.

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