Cabinet approves new coal allocation policy for power sector

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), approved a new transparent coal allocation policy for the power sector called Shakti or Scheme for Harnessing and Allocating ‘Koyala’ (Coal) Transparently in India-2017. This will ensure the rights of coal supplies for Fuel Supply Agreement (FSA) holders and signing of FSA with Letter of Assurance (LoA) holders.

Importance of SHAKTI

  • Thermal Power Plant (TPP) having LoA shall be eligible to sign FSA after ensuring that the plants are commissioned, respective milestones met, all specified conditions of the LoA.
  • The new policy will lead to gradual phasing out of the old one.
  • The policy aimed to ensure coal availability at all power plants and reduce dependence on imports of the dry fuel.
  • It will also help revive the stressed assets in the power sector and expected to bring 30,000 MW of locked capacity into generation.
  • Policy covers coal-based plants that are under-construction or are going to be constructed, provided these units are commissioned by March 31, 2022.
  • Power generation companies belonging to the Centre and the states will not be part of the policy.

Need for the Scheme

The coal supply to the TPPs has been made as per the provisions of the New Coal Distribution Policy (NCDP), 2007. Till 2010, CIL had issued LoA for approximately 1,08,000 MW capacity and no new LoAs were issued thereafter due to the prevailing scarcity scenario. The coal availability scenario has, now, emerged from scarcity to adequacy. In this adequate coal availability scenario, the present policy proposes a fading away of the old linkage allocation policy and emergence of a new linkage allocation policy based on transparent and objective criteria for the optimal utilisation of the natural resources.


Cabinet nod for 10 indigenous nuclear reactors

Union Cabinet cleared the proposal to construct 10 indigenous pressurised heavy water nuclear reactors (PHWR)with a total capacity of 7,000 MWe. The 10 PHWR project will result in a significant augmentation of nuclear power generation capacity.

Need for Indigenous Reactors

Troubles for India’s international collaborations in nuclear projects. U.S. deal, involving Toshiba Westinghouse for six reactors in Andhra Pradesh, is floundering after Westinghouse filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The deal with French company Areva for reactors in Jaitapur remain in negotiations over costing.

Key Facts

  • First of its kind project for India’s nuclear power sector, the ten new units will come up in homegrown initiative.
  • 10 plants would create Rs. 70,000 crore worth of business for domestic manufacturers.
  • It would be one of the flagship Make in India projects in this sector.
  • It will be part of India’s latest design of 700 MW PHWR fleet with state-of-art technology with highest safety.


  • The project will help transform Indian nuclear industry by linking our goal of a strong nuclear power sector with our indigenous industrial capacities in high-end technologies.
  • It is expected to generate more than 33,400 jobs in direct and indirect employment.
  • Aims to prioritise the use of clean power in India’s energy production.
  • The project supports India’s commitment to sustainable development, energy self-sufficiency and bolsters global efforts to combat climate change.

Current Capacity of India

India has current installed nuclear power capacity of 6780 MW from 22 operational plants. Another 6700 MWs of nuclear power is expected to come on stream by 2021-22 through projects presently under construction. India generated 37,674 million units of nuclear energy in 2016-17, according to the Nuclear Power Corporation of India.

Source : The Hindu

GS III : Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc

Indo-Bangla bridge connectivity

Tripura government has commenced the land acquisition process for the construction of India-Bangladesh Friendship Bridge.

About the Project

  • India-Bangladesh Friendship Bridge constructed over river Feni that demarcates boundaries between the two countries in south Tripura.
  • The process for acquiring land for a four-lane approach road and a connecting road on Indian side in southern Tripura has also begun.
  • the construction of the 150-metre bridge which will connect Sabroom of India and Ramgarh in Bangladesh.
  • The bridge would facilitate implementation of a protocol India earlier signed with Bangladesh to use Chittagong sea port as a ‘port of call’.
  • The port is 72 kilometre away from Sabroom.
  • India is also expanding rail network up to Sabroom to handle cargo consignments that would arrivefrom Chittagong port.
  • Ultimate connectivity plan is to benefit Tripura and other landlocked northeastern States with international and domestic shipments using the sea port.

Feni River

  • River in the Indian state of Tripura and southeastern Bangladesh.
  • It is a trans-boundary river with an ongoing dispute about water rights.
  • The Feni River originates in South Tripura district and flows through Sabroom town and then enters Bangladesh.

Source : The Hindu

GS III : Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc

Underwater tunnels to connect Howrah with Kolkata

howrah to kolkattaThe construction of the first underwater metro tunnel in the country cutting deep inside the bed of the Hooghly river. By the end of July, two tunnels running parallel will connect the twin cities of Howrah and Kolkata located on either side of the Hooghly. The construction is a first in India, the two 520-metre structures are part of a 10.8 km underground stretch and are crucial to the East West Metro project

About the Tunnel

howrah tunnel

  • The tunnels are being dug at a depth of 30 metres below the earth’s surface and 13 metres below the riverbed.
  • The twin tunnels, about 520 metres long, are crucial to the much-awaited ₹ 8,900 core East West Metro project that will connect Salt Lake Sector V in the eastern part of Kolkata to the Howrah Maidan across the river.
  • The diameter of the two tunnels running across the river is 5.5 metres and the distance between the two tunnels will vary at different places.

Concern over heritage site

  • Three heritage buildings in Kolkata and the existing rules, construction and mining operations are prohibited within 100 meters of protected monuments.
  • over the concern of Archaeological Survey of India, an expert committee from the Indian Institute of Technology found no adverse affect on the protected monuments.

Source : The Hindu

GS III : Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc


World Bank loan for National Waterway-1 on Ganga

The World Bank has approved a loan of $375 million for capacity augmentation of National Waterway-1 (NW-1) on the river Ganga under the Jal Marg Vikas Project (JMVP).

Key Facts

  • The financial assistance from the World Bank would help to develop the Rs 5,369-crore NW-1 from Haldia to Varanasi.
  • The project will enable commercial navigation of vessels with capacity of 1,500-2,000 deadweight tonnes along a 1,390-km stretch.

Jal Marg Vikas Project (JMVP)

  • It involves developing a 1,620-km navigable waterway between Haldia and Varanasi.It involves developing a 1,620-km navigable waterway between Haldia and Varanasi.
  • This will enable commercial navigation of at least 1,500-tonne vessels.
  • The project will be completed over six years at an estimated cost of Rs. 4,200 crore.
  • NW-1 is a waterway of national significance passing through Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal, serving the cities of Allahabad, Varanasi, Ghazipur, Bhagalpur, Patna, Howrah, Haldia and Kolkata, and their industrial hinterland including several industries located in the Ganga basin.
  • The rail and road corridors in this region are already saturated.
  • The project entails the construction of terminals and development of ferry services.
  • Inland Waterways Authority of India will set up a River Information Service System (like air-traffic control for airways) on NW-1, the first of its kind in India.

Source : Live Mint

GS III : Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc



Common duct policy

The with a new policy under which a common duct will be laid across a city and service providers such as telcos and digital TV players can lease these ducts to pass their fibre through it to offer services to consumers.

About the policy

  • The common duct policy for which Telecom Regulatory Authority of India is carrying out pilots in Deoghar in Jharkhand.
  • This could reduce operational cost of firms, remove right of way challenges, while eliminating the need for frequent digging up of roads.
  • This will also result in additional revenue for the municipalities and remove issues related to right of way.
  • A common duct will be created for about 20 years.
  • Once the duct is made, no service provider will be allowed to dig the road.
  • By May end, would put the entire program under close observation for six months.
  • Based on the learning from the pilot success would recommend the government a similar initiative to replicate in tier-II and tier-III cities.

Advantage of policy

  • Policy will allow the telecom service providers to share infrastructure.
  • Could reduce telcos operational cost and mitigate RoW (right of way) challenges.
  • The initiative, according to the regulator, will allow infrastructure providers to deploy a common terminal or box for optic fibre and digital TV cable with an objective to mitigate RoW issues.
  • This will avoid great inconvenience to the people of the city as Telecom and TV companieshave to dig up the road every time a fibre is laid.

Source : The Hindu

GS III : Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc