The Coal Ministry has turned down the request of state-run Rashtriya Ispat Nigam (RINL) for swapping two of its coking coal blocks in Jharkhand with other reserves.
"As regards allocation of alternative coal block(s), there is no policy/guidelines for allocation of alternative coal block in lieu of surrendered coal block," the ministry said on its website.
RINL, whose two coking coal blocks in Jharkhand -- Mahal allocated in 2005 and Tenughat-Jhirki allocated in 2008 -- were de-allocated by the Coal Ministry at the beginning of this month, had earlier requested permission to surrender these blocks in lieu of two alternative blocks in the region.
Instead, the Coal Ministry has asked the steel firm to apply afresh for coal blocks.
"RINL is at liberty to apply for blocks as and when applications for a fresh list of coal blocks (are invited)... The request will be considered along with other applications, as received then, as per the... Guidelines for allocation of coal blocks," the ministry said.
The Coal Ministry had cancelled the allocation of two coking coal blocks having reserves of about 500 million tonnes in Jharkhand to RINL as the steel firm had difficulties in developing the block.
As per the Steel Ministry, not only were the coal seams deep-seated and intermeshed with gaseous deposits, obstructions in the form of railway lines and nearby rivers also existed, the ministry had said.
The Mahal block has deposits of 258 million tonnes of coking coal, while the Tenughat-Jhirki block holds an estimated 215 million tonnes of coal.
It added that both blocks involved a high investment and production cost. Moreover, RINL has not met the milestones for developing the blocks.