The centre has entered into an allotment agreement with West Bengal Power Development Corporation (WBPDCL) for Deocha Pachami Dewanganj-Harinsingha coal block. It is the world’s second largest block.
“In accordance with the provisions of Coal Block Allocation Rules, 2017, made under the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulations) Act, 1957, WBPDCL has been allocated the block located in West Bengal spread over 12.28 square km with estimated reserves of 2102 million tonnes for for generation of power,” the coal ministry said in a statement.
The project is slated to generate both direct and indirect employment in West Bengal considerably and also contribute to the socio-economic development of the region. Further, the project envisages addressing immediate as well as the forthcoming coal and power requirements of the region. An upfront refundable deposit of Rs 50 crore has been made to the central government in this regard.
Last week, West Bengal’s chief minister Mamata Banerjee said that her government will proceed with the project cautiously, taking care of every aspect from resettlement to environment. There are about 395 families (40 per cent tribal) in Deocha-Pachami. Resettlement would be for another 389 families (total of 784 families) and everyone will be taken into confidence before the project work is started.
Banerjee had said the coal block would require investments to the tune of Rs 12,000-15,000 crore over a period of time, and holds the potential to generate nearly one lakh employment.
The state will be required to acquire about 9,000 acres out of the project area of 11,222.50 acres. Vested land is estimated to be around 2,000 acres, the officials said.
Five per cent of the project area is forest land needing forest clearance. It is a big project that can supply coal for the next 100 years. It would take about five years to start commercial production. A committee has been formed to execute the project.