Published On : Tue, May 16th, 2017

Power plants pay up crores as avoidable demurrage to Railways – this is how our power bills go up!

Power plant
Nagpur: An RTI query has revealed a shocking detail of how money is wasted in the running of our Power plants situated ideally very close to coal mines. Transport of coal from mines to power plant should be a minimal cost, right?

Wrong. The fact is that both the Koradi and Khaparkheda not just paid huge amounts for rail transport but also a whopping Rs.28 crores as demurrage charges to Railways for holding up coal rakes beyond the free time required for transport. The Chandrapur super thermal power plant,also situated close to coal mines, also coughed up Rs19 crore towards demurrage charges to railways for the same reason in the last two years.

As per railway rules, the power stations are allowed only 7 hours to unload coal.

Cause for Delays

In their reply, the power stations said, “The incurrence of demurrage is related to factors such as receipt of lumpy, wet, muddy and sticky coal in rakes which take more time for breaking and grilling. In this connection, the issue is taken up with coal companies at various levels for supply of only dry, sized and quality coal free from overburdens.”

On the shortcomings from the railways, Mahagenco said, “There are constraints like placement of rakes in short span, delay in railway permissions for movement of wagons, sick/damaged wagons and fulfilling railway formalities.”

These figures were revealed by Mahagenco following an RTI plea by Abhay Kolarkar. He had sought same information from Paras, Bhusawal, Nashik and Parli power stations besides the above three for the financial years 2015-16 and 2016-17.

Surprisingly Koradi leads the chart for incurring the highest charge of Rs 13.88 crore for a single financial year. In the last two years, Chandrapur, which had also incurred around Rs 31 crore but paid only Rs19crore as they negotiated with railways towaive off the rest. Bhusawal paid around Rs 9crore, and Nashik nearly Rs 2crore.

What is not palatable is, how is that Mahagenco, which must be one of the biggest customers of coal of PSU WCL, does not lay down terms for the quality of coal they purchase for running of power plants.

The question also arises about how railways, who are accused of supplying ‘sick’ and ‘damaged’ wagons still charge penalties to Mahagenco!