Power generation major NTPC is learnt to have installed the material handling system for transporting coal from the Kaniha opencast coal mine to its 3,000-mw NTPC Kaniha power station.
Reports indicate that NTPC may source a major part of the 17-million-tonne fuel requirement for its Kaniha power station from the 10-mn tpa mine.
Although the 3-km merry-go-round was slated to be ready in 2008, NTPC could not set up the transportation infrastructure in time because of land acquisition hurdles.
Because of delay in evacuation of coal from the mine, which is operated by Coal India (CIL), the asset remained idle since 2010.
The delayed implementation of the material handling system by NTPC caused CIL to lose nearly Rs 100 crore annually, just on wages and salaries.
Even though CIL started mining coal from the mine a year ago, NTPC was not prepared to procure the raw material through truck owing to techno-economic reasons. Production came to a halt as there were no buyers, leading to piled-up inventory.
The production was to begin in 2008 and the miner was ready to produce about 4 mn t coal by 2010. Approximately Rs 100 crore has been spent on land acquisition. Another Rs 100 crore goes towards salaries for 400 people. More money was locked up in equipment and other necessary infrastructure.