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Govt seeks information on progress in 61 coal blocks

There were 11 companies which were not recommended by Power Ministry but selected by screening committee

BS Reporter  |  New Delhi 

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The coal ministry has sought information from companies on the progress of 61 captive coal blocks allocated to them.

The blocks are being reviewed for lapses and the companies have been given three-weeks time to respond before taking a final decision on the cancellation of allocations.

The companies which are being scrutinised include Tata Steel, Rungta Mines, Hindustan Zinc, Essar Power, Hindalco Industries, Adani Power, Arcelor Mittal, GVK Power, Monnet Ispat, Lanco, Jindal Steel & Power, Bhushan Ltd and JSW Steel. “The blocks where environment clearance and stage-I of forest clearance has not been obtained, will be de-allocated,” the coal ministry said in a letter to the companies holding the 61 blocks.

The ministry will also cancel allocations of blocks which were unexplored or partially explored at the time of allocation but prospecting license (PL) has not been obtained or geological reports have not been prepared even after receiving a PL. Apart from the companies, the ministry has given three-weeks time to the state governments concerned and the environment ministry for giving their views on the matter. The coal ministry will also take a decision within six weeks in cases where stage-II forest clearance has not been obtained. The companies have also been asked to explain whether they have executed mining leases or applied for them.

The firms have been given time till February 5 to obtain requisite approvals and furnish the documents in support.

“A decision for de-allocation will be taken based on the documents furnished. This notice supercedes any previous notice issued on the recommendations of the inter-ministerial group or otherwise,” the ministry said.

The Centre had on Tuesday told the Supreme Court it would examine the status of development in the 61 blocks. The exercise will affect the fate of 41 companies.

“There will be no further delay. Everything will be time-bound now,” Attorney General G E Vahanavati had told the court in an ongoing hearing in the alleged Rs 1.86 lakh crore coal allocation scam.

The court had asked the government to explain the huge delay in according clearances and start of operations.

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First Published: Fri, January 17 2014. 00:48 IST