The Telegraph
Tuesday , November 20 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Coal block cash penalty on 11 firms

New Delhi, Nov. 19 (PTI): Acting on the recommendations of the inter-ministerial group (IMG) on coal blocks, the government has decided to deduct or forfeit bank guarantees amounting to Rs 25.7 crore, as the case may be, involving 11 firms for sitting idle on blocks allocated to them for captive use.

Firms whose bank guarantees have been ordered for deduction include Grasim Industries, Gujarat Ambuja Cements and Lafarge India.

The coal ministry has asked for the forfeiture of bank guarantee of Rs 11.8 crore with regard to Gondkhari coal block jointly allotted to Maharashtra Seamless, Dhariwal Infrastructure and Kesoram Industries Ltd.        

“Accordingly, Gondkhari coal block is deallocated and bank guarantee amounting to Rs 11.87 crore furnished by the allocatee companies is forfeited and be encashed,” the coal ministry said in a letter dated November 15. The IMG has concluded the scrutiny of coal blocks allotted to private firms, and last month the government had accepted its recommendations for the deallocation of 13 mines and deduction of bank guarantees of 14 allottees.        

The IMG has also recommended the deallocation of eight such blocks allotted to PSUs after scrutiny of 19 cases.

The Comptroller and Auditor General had estimated that undue benefits amounting to Rs 1.86 lakh crore might have accrued to private firms because of the allocation of 57 mines without auction.

Auction moves

The coal ministry today said it hoped to resolve differences with the environment and power ministries within 15 days on the proposed bidding norms for auctioning captive coal blocks.

Issues such as the provision of an “in principle” environment clearance to the blocks, arriving at a benchmark floor price and offering discounted prices to sectors such as power are yet to be resolved, coal secretary S.K. Srivastava said today.