NTPC seeks 'holistic' waterways solution for delivering coal to Indian power stations

India's state-owned National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC), the country’s largest power utility, has asked for a “holistic” feasibility report from the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) for transporting coal for its thermal power plants through inland waterways.

In September 2008, NTPC and the IWAI signed a memorandum of understanding for movement of imported coal from Haldia to Farakka, Kahalgaon and Barh power stations. Under the MoU, NTPC will commit to transport two-three million tonnes coal and assured return cargo of fly ash from its power plants, while the IWAI will provide the navigational channel for movement of barges, undertake project development and design suitable framework for induction of the private player for carrying out the movement.

Subsequently, the IWAI submitted a feasibility report for the project. However, NTPC found it insufficient and asked for another report, an official told Business Standard.

Eastern Coal Fields is unable to supply more than 15 Mt/y to Farakka and Kahalgaon power stations, as against their requirement of about 27 Mt/ym. The current stocks at several other power stations are “supercritical”, according to an IWAI document, which is likely to ensure NTPC’s continued dependence on imported coal.