Govt sets Sept 15 deadline on de-allocation of coal blocks
New Delhi: A deadline for September 15 has been set by the government for initiating action on de-allocation of coal mines to many of the 58 allottees to whom show-cause notices have been issued.
Pushed by an upset Prime Minister's Office, coal ministry has got into action to expedite the process of de-allocating the blocks ahead of the Inter-Ministerial Group meeting scheduled for Monday to consider the issue.
According to sources, the Coal Ministry decided to complete by September 15 the entire exercise in all cases where showcause notices were issued.
The PMO conveyed its displeasure to Coal Ministry over inaction in cancelling the blocks where mining has not taken place. PMO had in April asked the Ministry to review the cases of all blocks where production is yet to take place.
Notices were issued in April to 58 blocks, including 25 private firms like Tata Power, ArcelorMittal, Reliance Power, Hindalco, Grasim Industries, GVK Power.
The coal ministry swung into action just ahead of the meeting on Monday of the IMG, which it expects to do due diligence in a faster pace and recording all specific reasons for recommending de-allocation of the blocks.
Specific focus is on two blocks allotted to Usha Martin and Congress MP Naveen Jindal's Jindal Steel and Power (JSPL).
The IMG has representatives of steel, power, law, economic affairs and mines ministries, among others.
According to Coal Ministry officials a good number of these 58 blocks are among those mentioned in the CAG report.
Government auditor CAG in its recent report stated that undue benefits to the tune of Rs 1.86 lakh crore were extended to private firms on account of allocation of 57 mines to them.
CBI is also probing criminality in 12 firms which were given licenses under the 'fast track' category but did not commenced mining.