Jaiswal: Awaiting review
New Delhi, Sept. 3: The government today ruled out immediate cancellation of coal blocks till the inter-ministerial group (IMG) submitted its report by the middle of this month.
“We have set up the IMG, which is reviewing 58 coal blocks. It has been asked to submit its report in a time-bound manner and latest by September 15. After that, we will decide,” coal minister Sriprakash Jaiswal told reporters here.
The IMG, which met today, has sent notices to the owners of 58 coal blocks, including 25 private companies, for failing to develop the mines allotted for captive use within the given timeframe.
The meeting of the IMG, headed by additional secretary in the coal ministry Zohra Chatterjee, remained inconclusive; the panel will meet again later this week before submitting its report.
As many as 90 privately held coal blocks face the threat of deallocation for failure to start mining.
“The IMG has lined up meetings on September 6, 7 and 8 during which allottees will be given an opportunity to be heard and present the reasons for the delay, if any. The IMG has also firmed up the guidelines for proportionate deduction of bank guarantees for failure to achieve milestones for developing a block,” an official statement said.
Companies such as Reliance Power, Tata Power, Hindalco, Grasim Industries, ArcelorMittal, GVK Power and MMTC are on the list of 58 that have been issued show-cause notices.
The IMG can recommend cancellation of blocks, which did not comply with the development norms.
Sources said the firms in their replies have cited various reasons for the delay, including land acquisition problems, delay in forest and environment clearances and law and order problems.
In July, the government formed the IMG to review the progress of coal block allocated to companies for captive use.
Last year, the government had cancelled the allocation of 14 coal mines and one lignite mine to companies, including NTPC and DVC.