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Govt starts taking back coal blocks hit by mining delays

Tuesday, 18 February 2014 - 6:00am IST | Place: Kolkata | Agency: DNA

The Union coal ministry has begun deallocation of 61 coal blocks that have faced long delays in starting mining operations.

Deallocation letters have been dispatched to several owners of mines held singly or jointly by consortium, which were identified by an inter-ministerial group (IMG) earlier this month.

Recipients of such deallocation notices are: Adani Power, AES Chhattisgarh Energy, Mideast Integrated Steels, Kamal Sponge Steel & Power, Revati Cement and Rungta Mines.

Consortia which have lost out includes members like ACC, OCL India, Rungta Mines, Ramswarup, Adhunik Corp, Uttam Galva Steels, Howrah Gases, Vikash Metals, among others.

Coal ministry had in January issued notices to companies given a total 61 blocks, which are yet to start production, and were given time till February 5 to come up with explanations why work couldn't be started.

Then the IMG, over February 7 and 8, considered the responses received following which the panel made its recommendations.

Giving the deallocation notice to the consortium of ACC, Adhunik, Ramswarup among others, the panel has commented that the area of the Moira-Madhujore block overlaps with the coal-bed methane block owned by ONGC and the Bengal Aerotropolis project coming up in West Bengal.

The problem of same area given as part of CBM block as well as coal block also cropped up in the allocation of block Biharinath to Bankura DRI Mining, which had gone to court against petroleum ministry in a bid to restrain exploration of CBM.

The block -- North of Arkhapal Srirampur in Odisha -- given to Strategic Energy Technology Systems was for a coal-to-liquid project on which no satisfactory progress was seen by the panel.

Out of 61 blocks considered, the IMG in its report has reportedly recommended deallocation of 29 coal blocks given to companies inclding Essar Power, Hindalco, Tata Power and Jindal Steel & Power and has suggested "no action at present" for another 30 blocks.

The IMG, in its report, has also mentioned that the Central Bureau of Investigation has registered a case against Kamal Sponge Steel and Power, which was given Rudrapuri block jointly with Revati Cement.

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