Following the Supreme Court declaring the allocation of 153 coal blocks between 1993 and 2010 “arbitrary and illegal”, the Chhattisgarh government has started exploring options to salvage the blocks it was allotted during this period.
Between 1993 and 2010, the state-run Chhattisgarh Mineral Development Corporation and Chhattisgarh State Power Generation Company had been allotted four coal blocks.
“The state government is considering legal options and will file an affidavit in the Supreme Court with a request to allow the state-owned companies to retain the coal blocks,” said a senior official.
Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh has held discussions on this issue with officials of the state energy department.
The official said power company executives had been asked to be in touch with officials in the coal ministry, to work on a common strategy. The ministry had requested the apex court not to cancel the allocation of 46 coal blocks, which had already started production. Of the 46, eight are in Chhattisgarh.
The four blocks allotted to the state-run companies in Chhattisgarh fall under different categories. These blocks, yet to be developed, have already secured environmental clearances and the process to start production in these is underway.
Following the Supreme Court ruling, 37 coal blocks in Chhattisgarh, allocated during 1993-2010, have come under the scanner. Of these, 24 were allocated to 50 private companies while 13 coal blocks were given to nine public sector companies.
The latter are the state-run power companies or mineral development corporation from the states of Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Goa and Madhya Pradesh.