2.38 lakh tonnes of coal missing in T.N.

Tamil Nadu Electricity Minister V. Senthilbalaji said on Friday that 2.38 lakh tonnes of coal, valued at ₹85 crore, was missing from TANGEDCO’s North Chennai Thermal Power Station (NCTPS) at Athipattu, in Tiruvallur district.

After a meeting with officials at the power station, he told reporters that an initial investigation revealed that 2.38 lakh tonnes of coal was present in the books but was missing from the stock.

“If 5 tonnes or 10 tonnes of coal is missing, it is understandable. But 2.38 lakh tonnes is missing, though it is there in the records. Further investigation will be done, and we will find out how it went missing, and action will be taken against the guilty…,” Mr. Senthilbalaji said.

Similar investigations were being carried out at the power plants in Thoothukudi and Mettur, and an initial report would be ready soon, he said.

Accusing the AIADMK government of mismanagement, the Minister said TANGEDCO had good officers whose work was going down the drain owing to the wrongdoings of a few. “Whoever has done wrong, we will find them out, and they will be punished,” he said.

He said the DMK government would be transparent in its functioning, and all information relating to the Department of Electricity, including maintenance and power cut schedules, was being made available online.

He said the AIADMK government had not undertaken any maintenance work at the power stations in the last nine months of its tenure. “In fact, the officers here [NCTPS] told me that no equipment for maintenance had been purchased in the last three years.”

The Minister said the Department had identified transformers that had issues of high or low voltage in all 234 constituencies. “We have started the work to replace 8,900 transformers that have such issues at a cost of ₹625 crore. The work will be completed in three months.”

Mr. Senthilbalaji said the customer care cell, ‘Minnagam’, had received 2.48 lakh complaints, of which 2.36 had been resolved. The rest were being processed.

AIADMK leader and former Electricity Minister P. Thangamani said the irregularity was detected during his tenure itself. He told journalists at Pallipalayam in Namakkal that Mr. Senthilbalaji had only stated what was identified during the previous regime. He said he had sent officers for an inspection at the plant after he was doubtful about coal stock.

He said Mr. Senthilbalaji had deliberately used that report to show the AIADMK government in a bad light. But he did not wish to go deeper into the issue as the Minister “has not mentioned any name”. He would welcome any action and cooperate if action was taken in a “just manner”.

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