New Delhi: The Law Ministry has allowed the Coal Ministry to give back to state-owned power firm NTPC the coal blocks that were de-allocated because of delays in developing them.
The move is aimed at boosting the company's valuation prior to its share sale plan.
"Yes, Law Ministry has approved re-allocation of coal blocks to NTPC," a Power Ministry official told PTI.
The three coal blocks -- Chatti-Bariatu, Kerandari and Chatti-Bariatu (South)-- were forfeited from the company in 2011 as it failed to develop them in the stipulated timeframe.
"Now the Law Ministry has given opinion that since (Coal) Ministry had itself written a letter with regard to in-principle withdrawal of de-allocation...
"...Therefore, these rights stood vested with NTPC prior to the new amendment in MMDR act in February 2012 and hence withdrawal of de-allocation stands confirmed," Coal Ministry sources said.
Finance Minister P Chidambaram had yesterday met the Coal Minister as well as the Power Minister to look into the issue of re-allocating the blocks to NTPC.
A committee of the Coal Ministry had reviewed the entire matter and had recommended that if NTPC submits the revised work schedule for the blocks, their de-allocation can be considered for withdrawal.
In the meantime, amendments to the MMDR (Mines and Minerals Development Regulation) Act were notified in February last year, therefore the Coal Ministry went for consultation with the Law Ministry.
"The (Coal) ministry is likely to send the written confirmation on withdrawal of de-allocation (of NTPC blocks) either on Tuesday or tomorrow," the Coal Ministry source said.
Under the same principle, the Coal Ministry will also look into the case of two other coal blocks, allotted to Jharkhand government and Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC), which were cancelled.
"We will examine it (with regards to coal blocks of Jharkhand and DVC), as of now no decision has been taken but similar principle will apply in their case as well," sources added.
These two blocks were also de-allocated at the time of cancellation of NTPC coal blocks.
The government plans to sell 9.5 percent of its stake in NTPC and hopes to raise close Rs 13,000 crore from the offer.
The government holds 84.5 percent stake in the NTPC. Post-disinvestment, its stake would come down to 75 percent.
The government has proposed to raise Rs 30,000 crore by way of disinvestment in 2012-13. So far, it has been able to realise Rs 6,900 crore.
First Published: Tuesday, January 22, 2013, 19:58