New Delhi: The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) in its meeting Tuesday is likely to modify the earlier decision to give a go ahead to state governments for granting mining leases for coal blocks to companies if there is no CBI enquiry against them.
"The CCEA is scheduled to meet tomorrow. It is likely to modify its earlier direction giving a go ahead to states for grant of mineral concessions for the coal blocks alloted in view of pending litigations and investigations by the CBI," sources said.
The modification will be done in connection with the Supreme Court stance which has refused to split the coal blocks in categories where no cases have been registered and the mines where CBI is conducting enquiry, the sources added.
The development comes in the wake of the Attorney General G E Vahanvati briefing the government about the apex court's stance with regard to mines allocation.
Sources said while the states had said they would wait for apex court orders in such cases before granting leases, the Centre vide a letter on January 14 directed that they, "may take all steps for executing the mining leases making it clear in the order that this would be subject to final orders to be passes by the Supreme Court and without prejudice to the investigation or registration of cases by the CBI."
However, during the last CCEA meeting, the Attorney General had intimated the Ministers about the Supreme Court stance, sources said adding, that based on the development the CCEA is likely to modify its earlier decision of asking the states to go ahead with mining leases.
Earlier, the Coal Ministry on January 14 had decided to "issue notices to coal block allocatees who have all approvals in place for execution of mining lease, to obtain an order from the state Government that mining lease will be executed within three weeks from today, failing which their block allocations will be cancelled within one week thereafter."
The 61 coal blocks under question have been alloted to private firms like Tata Steel, JSPL and Hindalco, which have been unable to develop the mines within the stipulated time.
"It (the agenda for modification in directions of the CCEA taken on January 13 pertaining to 61 blocks) has not been taken up for discussion," Finance Minister P Chidambaram had told reporters after January 30 meeting of the CCEA.
Meanwhile, the Inter-Ministerial Group (IMG) on coal blocks will meet on February 7-8 to decide the fate of these 61 mines.
The government had earlier decided to deallocate all the captive coal blocks which have not obtained environment and in-principle forest clearances. It had issued show-cause notice to allocatees of 61 such mines.
This followed the Supreme Court posing some tough queries on allocation process for coal blocks and questioning the Centre over the functioning of the screening committee that made allotment recommendations.
First Published: Monday, February 03, 2014, 23:14