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Since 1st March, 1999
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State bid to save coal blocks

Ranchi, Nov. 26: The state government today knocked on the doors of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Union coal minister Sriprakash Jaiswal with the request that coal blocks allotted to Jharkhand State Mineral Development Corporation (JSMDC) are not cancelled.

Deputy chief minister Hemant Soren, who is in-charge of the mines and geology department and additional chief secretary A.K. Sarkar today called on Singh and Jaiswal and requested both not to take any “extreme” decision on the matter of coal mines allocated to JSMDC.

“JSMDC has been allotted eight mines including Rabodh, Patratu and Pindra-Dibipur-Khaowatand for which the state has already decided to form joint ventures with private companies. There have been delays in development of concerned mines because of various reasons which were explained during an inter-ministerial group review meeting held on October 10. I have made a request before the Prime Minister and Union coal minister that mines allocated to JSMDC should not be de-allocated for the interest of the poor state,” Soren told The Telegraph over phone.

The government’s move follows the November 20 recommendations made by the inter-ministerial group to de-allocate two blocks of JSMDC in Rabodh and Patratu. However, the state is yet to receive a formal communiqué. However, there are indications that the group may recommend cancellation of three more coal blocks.

In a letter handed over to the Prime Minister Soren said if coal blocks allotted to JSMDC were cancelled at this stage, the state-owned entity would incur huge financial losses in bank guarantees submitted, purchase of geological report, preparation and submission of mine plan et al.

“Any decision to cancel the coal blocks allotted to the state PSU will also cause serious adverse effects on the economy of the state and subsequently frustrate the government’s development efforts,” Soren said in his letter. According to the deputy chief minister, both Singh and Jaiswal promised to consider his request.

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