Coal Blocks_ProjectsMonitor

The Ministry of Coal recently asked for status report from allocatees of 40 coal blocks that are already under production and 6 coal blocks likely to come under production during the year 2014-15.

The information provided by the allocatees of the 46 coal blocks will form part of the affidavit to be filed by the Centre before the Supreme Court which is hearing the case of alleged irregularities in coal block allocation.

The coal block allocatees have been asked by the Ministry of Coal to provide details with regard to allocation date, grant of mining lease, investment in coal block, mine opening permission, milestones pending for commencement of production, linked End Use Plant, linked EUP capacity already commissioned, date of commencement of production from linked EUP, production from linked EUP since commencement and investment in linked EUP.

Among the allocatees of the 40 coal blocks already under production are Jindal Power Limited, Karnataka Power Corporation Limited, Usha Martin Limited, WBPDCL, WBSEB, Jindal Steel and Power Limited, CESC, Hindalco Industries Limited, Monnet Ispat Limited, PSEB, SAIL, DVC, Sasan Power Limited, RRVUNL and MPSMDCL. The allocatees of the 6 coal blocks likely to come under production during 2014-15 include GVK Power (Govindwal Sahib), DVC, Prism Cement, Jaiprakash Associates Limited, MPSMCL and NTPC.

On August 25th, a Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice R.M. Lodha had declared all coal block allocations since 1993 as illegal. Between 1993 and 2010, a total of 218 coal blocks were allocated by the government.

During a further hearing on the matter in the Supreme Court on September 1st, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi told the bench that 80 out of the 218 coal blocks had already been de-allocated by the Centre. He said the government did not have any problem if the remaining 138 blocks were also de-allocated but urged that the 46 coal blocks be exempted since the country was facing severe coal shortage. Rohatgi added that the government was ready to conduct auction for the other coal blocks. The Court asked the Centre to file an affidavit on the issue within a week and posted the matter for hearing on September 9th.

The Centre will incorporate the information collected from the allocatees of the 46 coal blocks in the affidavit to be filed in the Supreme Court. However, in all likelihood, it is going to take a neutral stand during the next hearing and not press for exempting these coal blocks.

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