CoalMin hopeful of deciding on 29 coal blocks by Sep 15

CoalMin hopeful of deciding on 29 coal blocks by Sep 15

The Coal Ministry is hopeful of meeting the deadline of September 15 for deciding on the fate of 29 coal blocks allotted to private firms whose review has been undertaken by an Inter-Ministerial Group (IMG).

"...(I am) hopeful of receiving IMG first report on coal blocks by September 15," Jaiswal told reporters after meeting Finance Minister P Chidambaram here today.

The deadline of September 15 for Inter-Ministerial Group (IMG) to submit its report was set by the Coal Ministry in the wake of uproar over irregularities in allocation of mines after CAG estimated undue benefits of Rs 1.86 lakh crore to private firms on account of allocation without auction.

The IMG has already heard the representations made by 29 private sector allottees, out of a total of 58, which failed develop the blocks as per schedule and is holding its meeting again today.

The meeting assumes significance as the Finance Ministry has reportedly voiced objections over de-allocations of mines.

It is likely to finalise its recommendations with regard to allotments made to firms whose representatives were given a chance to present their cases during three days of hearing on September 6,7 and 8.

During the three-day IMG meeting, allottees of 29 blocks gave progress reports of their mines and several of them said delays in starting the production resulted 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.

As per sources, it may also decide the dates for assessing the performance of the blocks allotted to PSUs, without auction.

Around 30 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.