GEECL to invest Rs 2,500 cr in Bengal to extract coal-bed methane

In a huge boost to industry in Bengal, energy major Great Eastern Energy Corporation Limited (GEECL) has decided to invest Rs 2,500 crore to extract coal-bed methane from coalfields in Raniganj.

Coming just before the Bengal Global Business Summit (BGBS), this decision is being seen as major thumbs up for the climate for investment in the state, something that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has been stressing on at every business interaction she has.

A spokesperson for GEECL has said that the company would set up 144 wells and a commensurate length of pipelines to extract the methane.

It should be mentioned here that GEECL already operates a methane-extraction setup in the Raniganj (South) block. This Rs 2,500 crore new investment is a big step in the right direction.

রাজ্যে ২৫০০ কোটি লগ্নির ঘোষণা গ্রেট ইস্টার্ন এনার্জির

ভূগর্ভস্থ কয়লাস্তরে নিমজ্জিত থাকা মিথেন গ্যাসের উৎপাদন বাড়ানোর লক্ষ্যে আগামী তিন থেকে চার বছরে রানিগঞ্জে আরও ২৫০০ কোটির লগ্নি করবে গ্রেট ইস্টার্ন এনার্জি কর্পোরেশন লিমিটেড। বিশ্ব বঙ্গ বাণিজ্য সম্মেলনের ঠিক আগেই এই লগ্নি স্বাভাবিকভাবেই রাজ্যের কাছে একটা বড় প্রাপ্তি।

গ্রেট ইস্টার্ন এনার্জি কর্পোরেশন লিমিটেড দেশের প্রথম সংস্থা যারা ভূগর্ভস্থ কয়লাস্তর থেকে প্রাকৃতিক গ্যাস উৎপাদন শুরু করে। সংস্থার সিইও জানিয়েছেন, পশ্চিমবঙ্গের রানিগঞ্জ ব্লকে গ্যাস উৎপাদনের জন্য ১৪৪টি নতুন কুয়ো খনন এবং পাইপলাইন বসাতে প্রায় ২৫০০ কোটি টাকার লগ্নির পরিকল্পনা করা হয়েছে।

আগামী তিন থেকে চার বছর ধরে লগ্নি করা হবে।

Source: Ei Samay

Rs 4000 crore allotted for revamping Bengal power infrastructure

The West Bengal Government has taken up a plan to revamp the state’s power infrastructure at an investment of Rs 4,000 crore over the next two years, State Power Minister Manish Gupta said on Wednesday.

West Bengal Power Development Corporation will appoint a mine developer and operator to start mining in five coal blocks, the Power Minister said while placing the power budget in the assembly.

State to start mining coal

The Centre allotted to WBPDCLsix coal blocks, including Tara (East & West), Barjora (North), Barjora, Gangaramchak, Gangaramchak-Bhadulia, Pachwara (North) and Kasta (East). Apart from this, the Deocha Pachami Deawanganj-Harisingha coal block has been allotted jointly to six states, including Bengal.

The minister said WBPDCL would receive 584 million tonnes of coals from the Deocha Pachami Deawanganj-Harisingha block. He also said that coal supply was not a cause of concern for the state government. “WBPDCL has a record coal stock of 9.29 lakh metric tonnes as on March 31, 2015”, said the minister.

Alternative sources of power

The department of Power and Non-Conventional Energy Sources is drawing up a draft document on Grid-connected Rooftop Solar Policy, which would be extended throughout the state in a phased manner, the Minister told the Assembly. The rooftop solar photovoltaic policy for the state was likely to be announced very shortly after former approval of the state cabinet, the Minister said.

The West Bengal Renewable Energy Development Agency already took up a project for installation of 10 kWp rooftop grid connected PV power plant with net metering arrangement at 100 government and government-aided schools statewide with 100 per cent funding from the state budget, he said.

The project would be extended to 500 schools altogether in phases, the minister said replying to a supplementary. The Minister further said that the WBREDA was also implementing an off-grid school electrification programme for another 100 schools in the Sundarbans.

Boost to power sector

The state government has also planned to set up a photovoltaic power plant to the proposed 1000MW Turga Pumped Storage in Ayodhya Hills in Purulia. “The project has got an in-principle approval from Centre,” the Minister said.

Steps have also been taken to upgrade various low voltage areas into high voltage ones, the Minister said. He said that in the last four years the power sector had witnessed improvement, thanks to several development schemes undertaken by his department.

The distribution infrastructure of the West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Company Limited had much improved in the last four years with the installation of 82 new 33/11KV sub-stations, besides HT line and Distribution Transformers (DTRs) etc, he said.

Starting from non-conventional energy resources, the state has already taken many projects to boost rural electrification and hydro-electric power generation programmes, the Minister said.

WB CM calls for national iron ore policy

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday said the central government needs to frame an iron-ore policy which will benefit the states.

“For coal, there is a national policy but for iron-ore there is none,” she said in the presence of union Coal and New and Renewable Energy Minister.

“If you can set up an iron-ore policy then states will be benefited,” she told the union minister.

WB CM was attending the inauguration of coal behemoth Coal India Ltd’s (CIL) new corporate headquarters at Rajarhat.

“Coal and iron are very important,” she said.

According to the Chief Minister, with the modernisation of the steel industry picking up pace in the state, the potential for steel plants is good.

“The industry potential is very good,” she said.

She also assured the union minister of all possible help and assistance for projects in the energy, coal and power sectors.

“Whatever help you need for renewable energy project or coal project or power project, we will always extend our cooperation,” she said.

Saugata Roy Moves Amendments on Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Bill, 2015 | Transcript

Sir, I beg to move Amendment one and two. They relate to Clause 7 of the Bill. Now Clause 7 relates with minerals specified in Part A of the First Schedule. Part A of the First Schedule deals with coal and lignite which is not under this Ministry, but since this is the Mines Act, coal is also covered.

All I have said, placed in line 24, for 30 years substituted with 20 years. Again, omit lines 25 and 26. I am not in favour of giving lifetime leases to people. Let it be 20 years, let the government see how they are lifting coal and how they are functioning, and then another auction can take place. So I beg to move amendments one and two.

Sir, I beg to move Amendments three, four, five, six to Clause 8. This deals with the minerals not included in the Part A and B of the First Schedule. As I mentioned, Part A deals with coal and lignite, Part B deals with atomic minerals and Part C is the most important because it deals with iron ore, bauxite, zinc ore, cooper ore, precious stone and everything.

Now the proposal is being given that mining leases will be given for 50 years. That is almost giving it in perpetuity. So this is very dangerous that somebody will get these precious minerals for 50 years. In this Sir, I want to mention that the minister without any auction is extending the lease of those captive mines. I as mentioned earlier that the big companies, both private sector and public sector like SAIL, Vizag Steel, ESSAR, Jindal, all of them are holding leases. Now without anything it has been extended to 2030. And now however will get in auction he will get it for 50 years. Is it fair? So, I want these 50 years to be brought down to 30 years. So that is why I move Amendments three, four, five and six.

Yeh mera Amendment jo hai, illegal mining ke liye saza aur kara karne ki liye hai. While I am totally against this Bill, because this sells away the nation’s treasures, I am for taking the strongest actions against those people who indulge in illegal mining, selling away the nation’s treasures in some other way. I have mentioned the loot in Bellary where whole hillocks of iron ore were just looted illegally during the BJP Government in Karnataka and exported abroad.

So Sir, I am moving my Amendment. For five years and fine, which may extend to five lakh rupees, extend it to seven years and with fine which may extend to 7 lakh rupees. Yeh chor o saza hona chahiye, jo desh ka tijori bechata hai.

Exploitation of tribals must be prevented: Saugata Roy on Mines & Minerals Ordinance

Saugata Roy slammed the Central Government today over the Mines and Minerals Ordinance in Lok Sabha, calling it ‘anti-tribal’.

Saugata Roy, who is also a signatory to the Statutory Resolution disapproving the Ordinance, said, “I feel the Government is actually playing with the process of the legislation.”

He mentioned that the Ordinance was not a mere piece of legislation but impacts the of socio-economic aspect of the life and culture of the poor tribal people.

“The strange thing is that places which are mineral rich, the people are abysmally poor. No exploration, no exploitation should be allowed which does not improve the condition of the people living in these areas. This should prove the bedrock of all our policies on mineral exploration”, said Saugata Roy.

He also disapproved of the amemdment in increase of number of years of lease from 30 years to 50 years marking it as a gimmick to entice the
MNCs into the auction procedure, only further leading to decline in quality of life of the tribal groups in the vicinity.

Click here for the complete transcript of the speech.