The Power ministry had said that supply of excessive stones and boulders especially from Bharat Coking Coal Ltd, a unit of Coal India is a matter of concern, which results in high detention of railway rakes and damage to coal handling system of power plants
The Indian government has set a deadline of next month to constitute a panel of third party sampling agencies amid allegations that stones were being dispatched by Coal India Ltd (CIL) even after the introduction of a mechanism to assess the fuel quality.
According to sources, a panel of third party sampling agencies is to be prepared and the consumer shall appoint his sampling agency from the panel and the deadline for this is 31 August 2014.
The issue of fuel quality being supplied to the power plants had also cropped up in the presentation on coal sector earlier made to the Prime Minister Office.
Last week, Piyush Goyal, minister for coal and power, in a written reply to the Lok Sabha had said that to address the issue of fossil fuel quality, third party sampling and analysis facilities at loading ends have been introduced, and the process is being further streamlined.
He was responding to a query on a tiff between CIL and NTPC in regard to conducting the tests of samples of coal by a third party.
NTPC buys a little more than 140 million tonnes of coal and supplies have been coming from both Eastern coalfields and Mahanadi coalfields. It was found that the higher grade slippage (about 7.5%) occurred from supplies emanating from Eastern Coalfields.
Because of the quality issue, NTPC had held up payments, withholding as much as Rs3,035 crore against coal supplied. After a series of discussions and the introduction of third party sampling and strict enforcement of "cash and carry" mechanism by Coal India in October 2013, NTPC cleared its dues since then, but no decision could be made on the old dues. Finally, in the meeting held on 6th March both the companies decided to settle remaining dues based on sampling results at every mine's end for the previous three months.
The issue of third party sampling of coal had also come up for discussions during the Coal India board meeting held this month.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley during his Budget 2014-15 speech had said that a stringent mechanism for quality control of coal were being put in place.
A system for third party sampling of coal is already in place since October last year at loading points.
The Power Ministry had earlier alleged that stones and boulders were still being dispatched to the power plants.
"Supply of excessive stones and boulders especially from BCCL (Bharat Coking Coal Ltd), a Coal India subsidiary, is a matter of concern. It results in high detention of railway rakes and damage to coal handling system of power plants," said a Power Ministry document.
The mechanism could not address the quality issue and so there is a "need to be done at unloading point", it said.
The issue of coal quality last year had resulted in a standoff between the country's largest power producer NTPC and the world's largest coal producer CIL.
After the government intervened, it was decided that a third party mechanism would be introduced to check coal quality.
It is estimated that the online retailer has, so far, raised over $1.7 billion from investors, including the current transaction
India's largest e-Commerce firm Flipkart on Tuesday said it has raised $1 billion (over Rs6,000 crore) in fresh funding from a group of investors, the largest so far in the fiercely competitive online shopping segment in the country.
This round of funding has now valued Flipkart at around $7 billion. Flipkart's valuation was estimated between $2.5 billion to $3 billion in May, when it had its previous funding round. In May, Flipkart had raised $210 million. It is estimated that the firm has, so far, raised over $1.7 billion from investors, including the current transaction.
"The funds will be used to make long-term strategic investments in India, especially in mobile technology," Flipkart co-founder and CEO Sachin Bansal told reporters.
Flipkart was rumoured to be considering an initial public offering (IPO) for raising capital but that has now been put to rest with this successful round of funding. "By 2020, India will have more than half a billion mobile Internet users. Our intense focus on mobile and technology puts us in a unique position to take advantage of this massive opportunity," Bansal added.
"IPO is not in consideration at all, we are not thinking about it. We have not settled on a business model that we can take public," Bansal said.
The Bangalore-based firm, founded by Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal, counts Accel Partners, Dragoneer Investment Group, Morgan Stanley Investment Management, Sofina and Vulcan Capital among its other investors.
For a business with relatively lower brick and mortar investments, it has proven to be hugely capital intensive and Amazon itself has been a perpetually capital thirsty company. With Amazon's entry in India last year, the competition in the online retail market became exceedingly fierce. Consolidation seems to be on the cards with Flipkart's recent buyout of Myntra, another online fashion retailer. The home-grown e-retailer had acquired online fashion retailer Myntra in May in what is estimated to be a Rs2,000-crore deal. It had also announced an investment of $100 million (around Rs600 crore) in its fashion business over the next 12-18 months.