2.4 lakh tonnes of coal worth Rs 85 crore missing from Chennai plant | Chennai News – Times of India


CHENNAI: Alleging discrepancy between records and stock on hand, Tamil Nadu electricity minister V Senthil Balaji on Friday said that about 2.4 lakh tonnes of coal has gone missing at the North Chennai Thermal Power Station (NCTPS). The loss is pegged at Rs 85 crore as per initial estimates. “This has happened because of the inefficiency of the AIADMK government. We will set right the irregularities and provide a transparent administration,” the minister said. The state-run power utility, Tangedco, has ordered a probe into coal stocks at the Tuticorin and Mettur thermal power stations.
A committee of senior Tangedco officials, which held an investigation on August 4 and 9, found discrepancies as the records did not reflect the actual coal stock as on March 31, 2021. “A probe is on to find out whether coal was unloaded from ship or not, or if the registers were manipulated. The offenders, whoever they are, will face action,” the minister told TOI. While the NCTPS I and II handles 9.9 lakh tonnes of coal per month received from coalfields of Talcher and IB Valley in Odisha, the Mettur TPS gets coal from Singareni Collieries in Andhra Pradesh. Coal is also imported from Indonesia. Sources told TOI that the panel was set up by Tangedco on August 2 after it was brought to the notice of officials that the coal stock at NCTPS-1 and Tuticorin TPS was less than what was reported.
The team was assigned to inspect and review the coal stocking procedures, accounting, stock as per stores book and actual coal stock, and reason for variations in the five thermal power stations. The report was to be submitted within a fortnight. Director (generation), chief financial controller and chief engineer (non-conventional energy sources) were members of the committee and superintending engineer (coal handling) was the convenor.
The Tangedco team has also started a probe at Mettur and Tuticorin TPS. The power utility had purchased 111 lakh tonnes of domestic coal and 12 lakh tonnes of imported coal last year, sources said. The August 2 order of Tangedco said that considering the seriousness of the matter, there was a need to inquire about the reasons for the shortage and “fix the responsibility with the officers” for the lacunae. Balaji said the power utility was facing a severe financial crisis with an outstanding debt burden of Rs1.59 lakh crore due to mismanagement of the AIADMK regime. Governor’s address to the assembly mentioned a detailed strategic study of the finances and governance structure. “Wrongdoers will be punished. None can escape,” the minister said, indicating that reports of the team on other stations will throw light on the magnitude of the scam.
Meanwhile, former electricity minister P Thangamani disputed the claims of Balaji. In Namakkal, the AIADMK leader said the minister was only reporting the findings of a committee set up by the previous regime after getting to know about discrepancies in stock. “How will the minister know about the missing coal as on March 31, when he deputed a team only on August 6? He is doing this to defame the previous government. We are ready to support him if he takes fair action,” the former minister said, denying any wrongdoing. He said the debt burden of TNEB increased due to the outstanding debt of Rs 36,000 crore when the DMK government demitted office in 2011 and implementation of new projects.

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