Custodian soon for coal blocks withdrawn from auction

The Government will appoint a ‘custodian’ for the coal blocks that have been withdrawn from the auction. The custodian will be appointed according to the provisions of the Coal Mines (Special Provisions), Second Ordinance, 2014.

Due to litigations from Jindal Steel and Power Ltd, BLA Power Ltd and the directions given by the Delhi High Court and the Jabalpur High Court, Madhya Pradesh, the Ministry of Coal had to remove five coal blocks from the auction list. These include Gottitoria East and West from the already producing blocks and Utkal B1, B2 and Gare Palma IV/6 from the ready to produce blocks list.

“The concept of custodian has been proposed in the Ordinance to ensure that coal production does not stop. The custodian’s role is to act as a trustee or an owner. They can appoint any agency to undertake the mining,” Coal Secretary, Anil Swarup said on Thursday.

He added that the ‘custodian’ will be somebody like an auction winner and the name will be announced in the next few days.

Commenting on the recent decisions of the courts, Swarup said, “The court orders haven’t questioned the Ordinance, only the process followed. So the auction does not face any risk. Internally we are examining whether to appeal the orders at the Supreme Court.”

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