Gehlot tries hard to woo Baghel

After being allotted a coal block for mining in Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Friday met his Chhattisgarh counterpart Bhupesh Baghel here and discussed the supply of coal to power houses in his state.

Gehlot was accompanied by his Power Minister Bhanwar Singh Bhanti. Chhattisgarh Forest Minister Mohammad Akbar was present at the meeting.

Gehlot said he had come to Chhattisgarh with a lot of hopes and if timely supply of coal was not initiated, Rajasthan will have to suffer a blackout. He urged Baghel to provide necessary approvals and clearances to Rajasthan at the earliest.

Rajasthan may suffer a power crisis due to outage of 4,340 MW power plant due to non-availability of Parsa East and Kanta Basan (PEKB) coal block in Surguja in Chhattisgarh, which was allotted by the Union Ministry of Coal to Rajasthan Rajya Vidyut Utpadan Nigam (a state government undertaking) for power generation, he said.

Baghel assured Gehlot that the Chhattisgarh government will take necessary steps after taking into consideration the loss to environment and the local people.

While talking to reporters, Baghel cited low royalty rates of coal and said a loss of Rs 9 lakh crore has been incurred by Chhattisgarh due to that in the past 30 years.

Seeking a holistic approach from Centre, he pointed out that royalty rates for coal have not been revised after 2014, causing loss to the state’s revenue.

Coal block allotments are being done by the Union government and the state government only had to look after the rehabilitation policies and environmental protection issues, he said.

Like others, the coal block allotment to the Rajasthan state too was done by the Union government and Gehlot had come here to facilitate the mining work, he said.