More coal blocks could be de-allocated based on the periodic review by an Inter-Ministerial Group (IMG), Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal said.

Speaking to reporters here, the Minister said so far 25 blocks had been de-allocated. The IMG was reviewing the performance the 58 allocated coal blocks, he said, adding that action against companies as well as officers (both from companies and the Government) who had given wrong information would be taken.

These coal blocks, under review, were allocated since 1993, but failed to achieve the milestones, Jaiswal said.

The performance of allocated captive coal blocks is being reviewed periodically. Earlier, the Government issued show-cause notice for de-allocation of 58 blocks. This matter was brought before the IMG. The companies associated with these blocks were asked to give a detailed presentation before the IMG.

“Based on the review, the IMG will take a decision in the next three-four months,” Jaiswal said. Besides, de-allocating 25 blocks, the IMG had also approved seizing bank guarantees in 16 blocks, he said, adding “the process for seizing bank guarantees are yet to be completed due to procedural issues.”

Jaiswal reiterated that during his tenure, no fresh allocations had been made. Though allocation letters for a couple of blocks were issued in 2011, these were for blocks already allocated in 2008. Since general elections were announced, the letters could not be issued at that time, which was done in due course.

Amid all these developments, the Coal Ministry is hoping that cumulative coal production will touch 42 million tonnes this year, against 36 million tonnes last year. Higher production is expected on the basis of the 8-10 new coal blocks where mining will start this year.

shishir.sinha

@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on August 27, 2012)
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