Some private firms may lose coal blocks

Some private firms may lose coal blocks

The meeting of inter-ministerial group to decide the fate of 29 coal blocks allotted to private sector companies could not arrive at final decision on Wednesday, but sources said suggestions were made for de-allocation of some of the mines and also encashment of bank guarantees in case of a few.

The next IMG meeting is expected to be held on Friday, a day before the likely submission of the review report to the government.Sources present in the meeting said, the IMG scrutinised at least six cases where production had not taken places within the prescribed timelines.

"Some decisions have been taken, which could be de-allocation," a member of the IMG said. The IMG will have two to three more deliberations with the companies before it reaches a final decision, meaning thereby the deadline of submitting the report by September 15 may not be met.

It is expected that over 30 public sector allottees, out of the total 58, may also be called to present their cases, although there was no official word on what transpired in Wednesday’s meeting, which lasted over six hours.

As planned earlier, the IMG was to decide the fate of 29 private companies in the meeting, but the finance ministry’s reported objections over de-allocation of mines may have come in the way of IMG coming to a definite decision, experts said.

However, some officials said that the finance ministry, which had earlier reportedly objected to any de-allocation, has given  a go-ahead for action against erring companies.