Fate of 29 coal blocks likely to be decided Wednesday
New Delhi: An Inter-Ministerial Group (IMG) may decide on Wednesday the fate of 29 coal blocks allocated to private companies out of the 58 mines that were issued notices for delaying production.
"The meeting of IMG likely to be held tomorrow may finalise recommendations with regard to allotments of 29 coal blocks made to firms whose representatives were given a final chance to present their case last week," a top Coal Ministry official said.
The final decision with regard to these blocks, however, would be only taken after taking a view from the Ministry of Law as well feedback from Coal Controller on the current status of these mines, another official in the Coal Ministry said.
Besides, the IMG might also take up the cases of a few firms whose bank guarantees would be forfeited for delaying the production from mines, the top ministry official added.
The official also said the final report with regard to 29 mines allocated to private firms would be presented before the Coal Ministry. The report on the remaining 29 coal mines of the public sector firms which were issued show cause notices would be submitted to the ministry sometime later, the official said.
Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal had asked its ministry to submit the report on the 58 coal blocks which were issued show cause notices for delaying production from the mines by September 15.
The deadline of September 15 was set by the Coal Ministry in the wake of uproar over irregularities in allocation of coal blocks after CAG estimated undue benefits to the tune of Rs 1.86 lakh crore to private firms on account of allocation of blocks to them without auction.
The coal blocks, of the 58 that have been issued showcause notices for delaying production, are with public sector firms, including MMTC, Chhattisgarh Mineral Development Corporation and Jharkhand State Mineral Development Corporation.
The panel undertook the review of the 29 blocks on September 6,7 and 8.
"Presentations were made by the allocatees of 29 coal blocks in reply to showcause notices issued to them (for failure to develop the blocks as per stipulated timeframe)," an official statement had earlier said.
It had added that the allocatees were asked to provide documents indicating the current status, duly certified by the authorised representative, besides the details of investment made vis-a-vis the plans for developing the blocks, certified by Chartered Accountant.
They were also required to submit investment details in respect of end-use plant, the statement had said, adding, "The self certification as per CA certificate and physical progress reported by the companies was taken on record and the authorised representatives were given an opportunity to be heard by the IMG."
During the three-day IMG meeting, allottes of 29 blocks gave progress reports of their mines and several of them said delays in starting the production was due to lack of various clearances from different state governments.
Tata Steel, Reliance Power, JSW, Grasim Industries, Kesoram Industries, IST Steel & Power, SKS Ispat and Power, Bihar Sponge Iron, among others, had appeared before the panel.