New Delhi, Sept. 15 (PTI): The inter-ministerial group on coal blocks today recommended cancellation of two mines awarded to Bhushan Steel and SKS Ispat & Power, the company at the centre of a controversy for being backed by Union minister Subodh Kant Sahay.
“The IMG has recommended cancellation of two blocks given to Bhushan Steel and SKS Ispat & Power, and suggested the forfeiture of bank guarantees for two other mines. It scrutinised four cases in all today,” a source, who attended the five-hour long meeting said.
Bhushan Steel was allotted New Patrapara block in Odisha in January, 2006. The block, which finds mention in the CAG report that estimated undue benefits to the company to the tune of Rs 9,338 crore, has an extractable reserve of 316.09 MT. It was meant to be used for making sponge iron.
A block belonging to SKS Ispat and Power, in which Sahay’s brother held the position of “honorary director”, has also been recommended for de-allocation. However, sources did not disclose the name of the block.
If the recommendations of the IMG are accepted by the coal ministry, the number of blocks cancelled for insufficient progress would go up to seven.
The panel has so far scrutinised replies furnished by 18 coal block allottees, including four today, at three meetings held in the last four days. It would meet again on Monday.
The IMG is scrutinising 29 blocks awarded to private firms out of the total 58 which were given show-cause notices for delays in developing mines.
Last evening, the panel recommended cancellation of Gouganrdih ABC mine, given jointly to JSW Steel and Himachal EMTA, in 2009.
Some of the blocks recommended for de-allocation find mention in the CAG report, which had recently estimated that undue benefits to the tune of Rs 1.86 lakh crore had been accrued to private firms due to allocation of 57 mines without auction.