Inter-ministerial group to review status of 58 coal blocks
New Delhi: An Inter-Ministerial Group is likely to meet on Monday to review the status of 58 coal blocks which both public and private firms failed to develop within stipulated time frame.
"The Inter-Ministerial Group (IMG) under the Chairmanship of Additional Secretary Coal may meet on Monday for reviewing the status of 58 coal blocks issued show cause notices," a Coal Ministry official said on Sunday.
Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal has also directed the officials in the Coal Ministry to submit a final report on the status of the 54 coal blocks by September 15.
The government has already issued de-allocation notices to 33 government firms and 25 private companies which failed to develop the same allotted for captive use in the given time-frame.
A top Coal Ministry official had earlier clarified that the blocks, barring a few, are different from those mentioned in the CAG report.
The government auditor CAG in its recent report tabled in Parliament 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.
The IMG comprising representatives from different Ministries may recommend cancellation of such blocks, which did not comply to the development norms.
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 for delays in developing the blocks.
The government in April 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.
In June, the government formed an IMG to review 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 mine to companies, including NTPC and DVC for failure to develop the blocks.