The coal ministry has declined Odisha Chief Minister’s request to allocate the coal blocks in the State to be allotted to just State mining PSU of Odisha. In a letter to the coal ministry, the Odisha CM has stated that no coal blocks should be allotted to any State or Company except State Mining PSU of Odisha. Responding to this, the coal ministry, in a letter to the State government, has stated that coal is a national asset and it is to be used in a manner so that need-based equitable distribution is effected for the entire country including the non-coal bearing States. Hence, coal blocks in Odisha cannot be reserved exclusively for the State mining PSUs of Odisha.
The ministry officials informed the State government that two PSUs of the State of Odisha — Orissa Mining Corporation and Orissa Hydro Power Generation Corporation — have been allocated six coal blocks with combined geological reserves of about 1919.65 million tonnes.
In addition to this, three coal blocks — Meenakshi, Meenakshi-B and Dipside of Meenakshi — with combined geological reserves of 885.24 million tonnes have been allocated for setting UMPP in Odisha. Further, 38 coal blocks with combined geological reserves of 8,276 million tonnes coal reserves have been allocated to various public and private sector companies whose end-use plants are located in the State of Odisha.
The officials stated that based on this, it cannot be said that the requirement of coal for Odisha based industrial projects has not been given due consideration. They also pointed out that in the States of Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand, a number of coal blocks have also been allocated to PSUs of other States like Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
The ministry officials further mentioned that the allocation of all the blocks in the State of Odisha to the private sector companies have been done after taking into consideration the recommendations of the concerned Central Ministries, Coal India Limited and also of the Odisha government.