Odisha protests coal block de-allocation

Bhubaneswar: Irked over de-allocation of another coal block, the Odisha government on Saturday said it would ask the Union Ministry of Mines to re-consider its decision.

The state government's reaction came after Centre de-allocated the Mandakini-B coal block allocated to the state owned Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC). Mandakini-B coal block has a reserve of 1200 million tonne in Angul district.

The Ministry of Mines de-allocated the coal block in favour of OMC and three others on the ground that there was no progress in utilisation.

Earlier, the ministry had deallocated the Utkal-D coal block given to OMC.

The Mandakini Coal Block was allocated to OMC along with state corporations of Assam, Meghalaya and Tamil Nadu way back in 2007.

"Our steel and mines secretary will meet the union mines secretary soon to vent state government's displeasure over the matter," steel and mines minister R K Singh said.

Alleging that the Centre was not in favour of industrialisation in Odisha, he said "Though we demanded that the state corporation be given a hearing before de-allocation, the Centre paid no heed."

The minister said, the state government was also opposed to joint allocation of coal blocks to different state corporations which created problems.

"We could have made a lot of progress if the coal block was allocated to OMC alone," the minister said.

Leader of the Opposition Bhupinder Singh of Congress said "There is no justification in demanding more coal blocks for OMC when it failed to retain resources allocated to it."

BJP legislature party leader K V Singhdeo demanded action against OMC authorities for losing one coal block after another.