Coal Min decides to cancel allotment of 14 blocks

New Delhi: The Coal Ministry on Thursday said it has decided to cancel allotment of 14 coal blocks and one lignite block to six PSUs, including NTPC, and three private firms for failing to develop mines.

“Ministry of Coal has decided to deallocate 14 coal blocks and one lignite captive coal block for slow implementation/non-implementation of mining projects,” an official statement said.

The decision follows recommendations by a Coal Ministry panel, which reviewed progress made by steel, power, cement and other firms in developing 88 coal and lignite blocks allotted for captive use.

The committee also recommended deduction of bank guarantees in case of 15 private firms for failing to achieve commencement of production as per allotment norms and recommended “issuing of warning to 29 coal block allottees and three lignite block allottees for bringing their blocks into production at the earliest,” the statement said.

The Ministry deallocated five blocks — Chatti Bariatu, Chatti Bariatu (S), Kerandari, Brahmani and Chichiro Patsimal — awarded to state-run power producer NTPC.

Reacting to the development, an NTPC official said the company was making sincere efforts to develop the mines and under the circumstances the ministry should ensure coal allotment to it for power generation.

“Our core business is to generate power and if our mines are being taken, as we are hearing … then Coal Ministry should ensure coal to us,” the official said.

The Ministry also decided to cancel allotment of blocks to DVC, Andhra Pradesh Power Generation Corporation, Tenughat Vidyut Nigam, Bihar State Mineral Development Corporation and Jharkhand State Electricity Board.

The private firms to which deallocation notices were issued are Shree Baidyanath Ayurved Limited and Bhatia International Limited which were allotted coal blocks, besides V S Lignite that was given a lignite block.

The committee has recommended no action against 20 coal blocks falling under ‘no go’ mining area as classified by the Ministry of Forest and Environment, the statement said.

The committee, headed by Special Secretary Alok Perti, recommended action against the allottees based on the development of captive blocks as well as the responses from 88 firms to the show cause notices served to them.

To weed out non-serious players, the government had last year issued notices to 84 coal and four lignite block allottees for not developing the same within stipulated time and sought explanation as to why blocks should not be cancelled.