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Supreme Court seeks status report on 46 coal mines

Wednesday, 3 September 2014 - 5:45am IST | Place: Kolkata | Agency: dna

To request court to spare six mines that plan to start operations this year

GVK Power, Prism Cement, Jaiprakash Associates, NTPC, and state government owned entities such as Damodar Valley Corporation and Madhya Pradesh State Mining Corp may just get lucky if Supreme Court indeed cancels mine allocation en masse.

The government has decided to request the apex court to spare the six mines allocated to these six entities, although none of them has started operations but are likely to begin mining during the current year.

NTPC chairman Arup Roy Choudhury recently said that country's largest power producer won't get impacted by the ruling and that the block Parki Barwadih, named among the list of six mines, would start production soon.

The government is in the process of filing an affidavit giving details of 46 mines, including the above six, requesting the apex court not to cancel their licences.

The rest of the 40 mines have already started production belonging to private sector allottees like the 3,960 mw Sasan Ultra Mega Power Project, CESC Hindalco Monnet Ispat, Usha Martin, Electrosteel, SAIL, Jayaswal Neco, Prakash Industries, Sunflag Iron, Sarda Energy, Jindal Power, BLA Industries, Sree Virangana Iron and BS Ispat and one being jointly operated by Jai Balaji Steel and Sova Ispat.

These also include six blocks now being operated by West Bengal government and one each by Punjab State Electricity Board and Madhya Pradesh State Mining Corp and Rajasthan Rajya Vidyut Utpadan Nigam.

The allottees have been asked by the government to provide details of these 46 mines like investment sunk into the project till date, investment in the linked project like power steel or cement, coal production done in fiscal 2014 and cumulatively till date.

"This ministry is required to file affidavit before the Supreme Court confirming details of coal blocks which have come under production along with status of linked EUP (End Use Plants). You are requested to compile the information in the enclosed format same duly signed by the authorised signatory of the company by special messenger so as to reach this ministry by September 3 positively," the letter issued to the developers of the 40 working mines said.

Similar letters have also been issued to the owner of the six blocks being developed.

Attorney general Mukul Rohatgi on Monday had told a bench headed by chief Justice R M Lodha that of the 218 coal blocks being considered, 80 were cancelled during past two years following investigation by the Central Bureau of Investigation, and of the remaining 138, 40 are operating and six would begin shortly.

The bench also asked three industry bodies – Coal Producers Association, Sponge Iron Manufacturers Association and Independent Power Producers Association of India - which have become party to the case, to file an affidavit on their stand.

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