Assam wants speical coal linkages for two power projects

Assam has demanded 'special' coal linkages from the Centre for two of its thermal power projects - one a greenfield project and the other a revival project. The state has also expressed its uneasiness for having made to bear the "huge burden" of under-recoveries by way of the policy of discount on crude oil prices to compensate the downstream oil companies.

The state government has sought long term linkage of 0.2 million metric tonnes of coal to revive the 60 MW thermal power plant at Chandrapur, near Guwahati, and 1 million metric tonnes for the proposed 500 MW thermal power plant in Margherita, in Upper Assam. The Marghertia project was envisioned way back in 2008, but due to non-availability of any coal linkage for the project, it hasn't yet seen the light of the day.

In a meeting with the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi has sought that coal linkages for the two power projects be ensured. Gogoi said Assam had been pursuing with the Union ministry of power and the ministry of coal to provide "special" coal linkages for the two projects.

The chief minister sought Singh's intervention for allocation of power from projects located in Bhutan. "The hydroelectric projects in Bhutan have been set up with assistance from India over rivers which flow from Bhutan into Assam. However, there is negligible allocation of power to Assam from these projects. We, therefore, request your kind intervention for allocation of power from the Central sector quota or otherwise from these power projects to Assam. This would help improve the efficiency of the transmission system located in North-East."

Taking up the crude oil discount policy, Gogoi said the Assam has been made to bear the "huge burden of under-recoveries" by way of a policy of discount on crude oil prices "with a view to compensate the oil marketing companies". "Such discount policy has not only adversely affected the VAT (value added tax) and Entry Tax collection realised on post discount price, but also has badly hit the royalty collection of the state. Such discount policy on the international price of crude oil has led to loss of revenue of around Rs. 537 crore to the state on account of VAT and Entry Tax alone during the year 2012-13", he added.

Gogoi also took up the loss of royalty incurred by the Assam government due to discount on sale price of crude oil. Gogoi said that though the state government had taken up the matter with the Union ministry of petroleum and natural gas on the need for redressal of the injustice being meted out to the state, the latter had not yet taken any favourable decision.

Gogoi requested the Prime Minister to keep crude oil and petroleum products outside the purview of Goods and Services Tax (GST). "We strongly feel that the existing provision of Clause 12A in Article 366 of proposed 115th Constitutional Amendment Bill to keep these products outside GST are in right spirit and should not be tampered with," he added.