The Ministry of Coal is set to review 61 captive coal blocks that had been allocated to private companies for specified end-use based on the recommendation of the screening committee but yet to commence production. The review will be carried out on the basis of certain specified criteria.
Under the criteria for review, the coal blocks for which the necessary environmental clearance and forest clearance stage I have not been obtained as well as those coal blocks which were unexplored or regionally explored or partially explored at the time of allocation and the prospecting license is yet to be obtained or where the prospecting license has been issued but geological reports not prepared despite the lapse of the prescribed period of 27 months from the date of allocation as per normative milestones, will be de-allocated.
Prior to de-allocating, the Ministry of Coal will provide three weeks to the allocatee for obtaining the necessary approvals and produce the required documents as proof. Thereafter, within a week, the decision with regard to de-allocation will be taken. The concerned state government and the Ministry of Environment and Forests will also submit their views on the issue within the three-week period.
In cases where forest clearance stage II has not been obtained, review will be carried out and a decision taken within six weeks considering the guidelines of the MoEF and also assessing whether such clearance is expected within a reasonable period of time. If ascertained that the clearance is not expected within reasonable time, the blocks will be de-allocated. The MoEF is expected to take an appropriate decision within four weeks in such cases.
To carry out the review process, the Ministry of Coal has sought information concerning execution of mining lease, approvals secured, grant of environmental clearance and forest clearance stage I, prospecting license and geological report from the private companies allocated the captive coal blocks. The companies need to secure all the requisite approvals and submit documents in support of the same by February 5th, 2014. The decision whether to de-allocate or not based on the documents furnished will be taken within a week after that.
In cases where the company allocated the captive coal block has already obtained the environmental clearance and forest clearance stage I, and applied for forest clearance stage II, the current status with regard to securing forest clearance stage II as well as documentary proof of obtaining environmental clearance and forest clearance stage I have to be provided by February 12, 2014. The decision on de-allocation will be taken within two weeks after that.
If a company fails to provide the information sought within the prescribed time period, the Ministry of Coal will decide based on the information available on record.