Panel to decide fate of 58 coal blocks next week

Panel to decide fate of 58 coal blocks next week

In the wake of controversies shrouding coal mines allocation, an inter-ministerial panel will decide next week the fate of 58 blocks which the private companies and PSUs failed to develop within allowed time.

The government has already issued de-allocation notices to 35 government firms and 23 private companies which failed to develop the same allotted for captive use in the given time-frame.

"An Inter-Ministerial Group, headed by Additional Secretary, Coal, Zohra Chatterji will meet on Tuesday or Wednesday to decide on 58 blocks which were served de-allocation notices," a top Coal Ministry official told PTI.

The official clarified that the blocks, barring a few, are different from those mentioned in the CAG report. 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.

There were media reports that the government may cancel over 50 blocks mentioned in the CAG report. Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal, however, said, "The blocks were allocated under a process... monitoring the process of blocks development is done regularly and it is wrong to say that these will be cancelled. IMG will review their progress and take a final view on it."

Meanwhile, the government is likely to kick off the auction process of 54 identified coal blocks having a reserve of about 18.22 billion tonnes next year.
Jaiswal had earlier said that the credit rating firm CRISIL is likely to submit its report on the methodology of auction soon.

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