Coal Ministry to issue notice to firms sitting on mines

Amid furore over the CAG draft report estimating Rs 10.67 lakh crore losses to the exchequer on account of coal mines allocation, the government will begin issuing notices from tomorrow to firms sitting idle on blocks.

“We will begin the process of issuing show cause notices to around 58 block holders, including, NTPC, SAIL, Jindal Steel & Power and GVK Power, that were allocated mines for captive use from tomorrow,” a top official in the Coal Ministry said.

The development follows reports that an initial draft by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has estimated a loss of Rs 10.67 lakh crore loss to the exchequer on account of allotment of coal blocks to 100 private and public sector companies during 2004 to 2009.

The decision to issue show-cause notices to the firms sitting idle on captive coal blocks was taken by a panel looking into the development of reserves, sources said.

Concerned over the increasing demand supply gap, the Ministry in January this year had reviewed the progress of mines allocated to companies, including Tata Steel, Coal India, SAIL and NTPC for captive use.

The progress of the blocks allocated to Jindal Power, Jindal Steel & Power, Balco and MMTC was also reviewed during the two-day meeting.

Last year, the Coal Ministry had cancelled allotment of 14 coal and one lignite block to six PSUs, including NTPC, and three private firms for failing to develop mines.

However, in January government gave back six coal blocks of the deallocated mines to firms, including Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) and Tenughat Vidyut Nigam Ltd (TVNL) and NTPC.

Source: Business Standard


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