New Delhi: Amid controversy over coal block allocation, the government may take a final call next month on the fate of 58 mines, which companies have failed to develop, as Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal has directed officials to submit a final report on their status by September 15.
The government in April had already slapped cancellation notices on holders of these blocks, which include 35 government firms and 23 private companies for failing to develop the mines alloted for captive use in the given time-frame.
"The Coal Minister has asked Coal Secretary S K Srivastava to expedite the review of 58 blocks and submit a final report on the status of the blocks by September 15 after going through the replies furnished by firms for failing to develop the blocks. Based on the report, the blocks may be de-allocated," a source told PTI.
Before preparing a final report, an Inter-Ministerial Group (IMG) on coal blocks will take a review the status of blocks in its meeting which is likely on Monday, sources said.
The panel, headed by Additional Secretary in the Coal Ministry Zohra Chatterji and comprising representatives from different Ministries may recommend cancellation of such blocks, which did not comply to the development norms.
The official said that the blocks, barring a few, are different from those mentioned in the CAG report.
Sources said the firms in their replies furnished to the Ministry have cited various reasons, including land acquisition problems, delays in forestry and environment clearances and law and order problems.
The government in April had began the process of issuing notices to companies that failed to develop the 58 coal blocks within the stipulated time.
The notices were issued to firms like Reliance Power`s Sasan, Tata Power, Hindalco and Grasim Industries, ArcelorMittal, GVK Power, MMTC and others.
Later in June, the government formed an IMG to review the progress of coal blocks allocated to companies for captive use.
Of the total 195 coal blocks allocated to both public and private firms in over a decade, only 30 mines have begun production as per the government records.
The government, last year had cancelled the allocation of 14 coal mines and one lignite to companies, including NTPC and DVC for failure to develop the blocks.