The Centre has rejected the Odisha government’s demand to re-allocate the coal block to its PSUs which were de-allocated last year for delay in start of work.
“The coal blocks were de-allocated on the basis of certain recommendation. How can they be re-allocated?” asked Sriprakash Jaiswal, Union minister of coal during his visit to the state.
The state government termed the coal minister's comment as unfortunate.
The state minister for steel and mines, Rajani Kant Singh said, “The coal minister's remarks are unfortunate. It seems the Centre is not supporting industrialization in Odisha.”
So far, the union ministry has de-allocated four coal blocks out of total 33 blocks issued to different companies in the state for delay in developing these properties even after six to seven years of allocation.
Out of the four mines, three (Utkal-D, Manadakini-B. and Baitarani West) were recommended in favour of Odisha PSUs jointly with other state PSUs. While Utkal-D and Mandakini-B was meant for Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC), Baitaraini West was allocated to Odisha Hydro Power Corporation (OHPC).
The central government has been de-allocating coal blocks in line with the recommendations of the Inter Ministerial Group (IMG), which was formed in July 2012 after coal scam came to the limelight.
Odisha government on January 18 had protested the Union coal ministry’s decision saying de-allocation of Baitarani coal mine was lopsided as the recommendation made by the IMG did not take into account all side of the issue.
"IMG's report has completely ignored the progress taken place in developing the Baiatarni west coal block and respective end use projects and caused an action to de-allocate the coal block as well as to invoke 50% of bank guarantee accruing to Rs 37.50 crore,” state Chief Secrteary B K Patnaik had said in a letter addressed to Union coal secretary S K Srivastava.
The IMG had said that the allocatees were yet to obtain environment and forest clearance, and they were not able to take possession of land since the approval of coal mines in 2007.
Odisha said, the allocatees have no control over achieving these milestones as the agencies involved in granting the clearances are part of either state or central government and have the right to issue the permits.
Meanwhile, the state government has decided that its PSUs will file second applications for allocations of coal mines.
As per the decision, while OMC will apply for Kudanali-Luburi coal block, with reserve of 396.1 million tonne, three other PSUs - Odisha Power Generation Corporation (OPGC), Odisha Thermal Power Corporation Ltd (OTPCL) and OHPC will apply for reserves at Chandrabila, Tentuloi and Sarapal-Nuapada respectively.
The Union coal minister said that the ministerial committee will consider the fresh applications filed by each state and central government companies and necessary action will be taken as per the requirement.