Two coal blocks, including one given to Congress MP Naveen Jindal’s Jindal Steel and Power Limited (JSPL), face the risk of de-allocation as their cases would be under special focus at the meeting of an inter-ministerial group (IMG) tomorrow.
The coal ministry had advised the IMG to do “due diligence” and record all specific reasons for recommending de-allocation, including in these two specific cases, sources said.
The special focus on these blocks comes against the backdrop of displeasure expressed by the Prime Minister’s Office over inaction by the coal ministry with regard to initiation of de-allocation of blocks which failed to start production.
The IMG, at its July meeting, had recommended de-allocation of Jitpur block given to JSPL and Lohari block given to Usha Martin for power plant and sponge iron plants, respectively. Both the blocks are in Jharkhand. Jitpur, allotted in 2007 has an estimated 81 million tonnes (mt) of coal. Lohari, given in 2005, has about 10 mt of dry-fuel reserves.
At a meeting of IMG on August 8, it was decided an inter-ministerial panel “could consider the representation (for not taking the extreme step of de-allocation of two blocks) on the basis of fresh information only if the same is referred to it by the government.”