Odisha asks State PSUs to clarify on coal block JV companies

Bhubaneswar: Odisha government has asked the concerned state public sector undertakings to clarify whether there were any irregularities in formation of joint ventures for exploring coal, official sources said on Thursday.
The state's Steel and Mines department has sought information from the state Energy department on three subjects like, if government companies have awarded contracts for development of coal mines, if the government firms have formed JVs with private companies and whether due procedure and rules have been followed in the process of awarding contracts and formation of JVs.
"The CBI enquiry also covers the files relating to grant of mining leases which were to be granted by the Odisha government. The Government of India has accordingly requested the state government to accord the necessary consent to enable the CBI to enquire into the irregularities," G Srinivas, Odisha's steel and mines secretary wrote to Energy secretary P K Jena and and chairman cum managing director of Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC) Saswat Mishra.
Sources said, CBI is probing into alleged irregularities in allocation of coal blocks including five blocks won by the state PSUs. These blocks were: Utkal-D, Nuagaon Telisahi, Mandakini-B, Manoharpur and Dipside of Manoharpur and Baitarani-West.
While both Utkal-D and Mandakini-B were allocated to state run miner OMC, the Nuagaon Telisahi coal block was allocated jointly to OMC and Andhra Pradesh Mineral Development Corporation Ltd.
Another state-owned firm Odisha Power Generation Corporation (OPGC) had won the Manoharpur and dip side Manoharpur coal block for undertaking its expansion project at Ib Valley. The Baitarani West block was alloted jointly to Odisha Hydro Power Corporation (OHPC) along with Gujarat Power Generation Corporation and Kerala State Electricity Board.
The Coal ministry had, however, de-allocated New Patrapara, Baitarani West, Utkal-D, Mandakini-B and Naini blocks on the ground of unsatisfactory performances.
Besides the coal blocks of state PSUs, the CBI is probing into alleged profiteering by Nava Bharat Power that had sold 100 per cent of its shares to Essar Power soon after being allocated the Rampia and Rampia dip side coal blocks for its power plant proposed at Meramundali near Angul.
The Coal ministry had allotted 32 blocks in Odisha to state PSUs and private entities.