Inter-ministerial group suggests cancellation of allocation of 29 coal blocks

An inter-ministerial group  has recommended cancellation of the allocation of 29 coal blocks and freezing of the process of allocation in the case of 30 others.

The coal ministry is likely to issue formal orders for the cancellation of the 29 captive coal blocks belonging to companies like Hindalco, Tata Power, Jindal Steel and Power and Essar Power.

These 29 blocks include those allocated to companies such as Essar Power, Hindalco, Tata Power and Jindal Steel and Power Ltd.

Prominent among these are the Chakla and Ashok Karkatta coal blocks in Jharkhand allocated to Essar Power; the tubed coal block in Jharkhand jointly allocated to Hindalco Industries and Tata Power and Gare Palma IV/6 in Chhattisgarh jointly allotted to firms like JSPL and Nalwa Sponge Iron Ltd, among others, coal ministry document shows.

In the case of the Kotre Basantpur and Pachmo coal blocks in Jharkhand allocated to Tata Steel, the IMG has recommended that the mines are ''liable to be deallocated'' and the ''decision has to be taken by the government in view of the court case.''

The coal blocks where no action has been recommended for the present include those allocated companies like Jayaswal Neco Ltd, Jas Infrastructure Capital Ltd, JSW Steel, JLD Yavatmal Energy Ltd and Balco, among others.

A decision on the issue will be taken only after the coal minister accepts the recommendations of the IMG, coal ministry sources said.

The inter-ministerial group on coal blocks, which met on 7 and 8 February reviewed the progress of development of 61 coal blocks.

The group  was set up under the chairmanship of additional secretary, coal, to review the progress of development of captive coal blocks allotted to private companies.

The inter-ministerial group has members from various ministries, including steel and power.