IMG to meet on September 12 and submit final report

The fate of nearly 17 coal blocks is on line as the inter-Ministerial group (IMG), headed by Zohra Chatterjee, is likely to recommend de-allocation for not only their failure to develop the mining assets within the given timeframe but also indulging in misrepresentation of facts, supplying fraudulent documents and giving misleading details of their companies and tie-ups, including joint ventures.

Sources in the government said the IMG had done a preliminary probe and had prepared a draft report after hearing 29 companies during the three-day marathon meeting last week. The IMG is planning to meet on September 12 to finetune its recommendations and submit the same to the Coal Secretary the same day. “About 12 blocks are sure to face de-allocation and another five face the threat of cancellation as their cases hang on the borderline and will depend on how IMG views the offences committed by them. Around 21 coal blocks fall under the “inviolate areas” and another seven fall under the “naxal hit zones” category. The IMG did not deliberate on these blocks,” the sources added.

After the submission of the report by the IMG on September 12, the Coal Secretary is likely to have deliberations with IMG before submitting the report to the Coal Minister, Sriprakash Jaiswal, and the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). “The PMO as well as the Coal Minister want this exercise to be completed as soon as possible. So, a final decision is likely to emerge on the issue by early next week,’’ a senior Coal Ministry official said.

The fate of the coal blocks of big companies, including Reliance Power, Tata group, Jindal Steel and Power, Tata Power, Hindalco and Grasim Industries, ArcelorMittal, GVK Power and MMTC hangs in balance. Reliance Power has gone ahead and already commenced mining at the coal mines allocated for the 4,000 MW Sasan UMPP.

An official statement issued by the Coal Ministry here stated that the IMG would decide this week the fate of 29 mines given to various companies following its last week’s review of the progress made in developing them. “The next meeting of the IMG will be held on September 12 to deliberate and finalise its recommendations in respect of allocatees/companies which made presentations before it,’’ the statement said. The panel undertook the review of the blocks from September 6-8.

“Presentations were made by the `allocatees’ of 29 coal blocks in reply to show-cause notices issued to them (for failure to develop the blocks as per stipulated timeframe). The `allocatees’ were asked to provide documents indicating the current status, duly certified by the authorised representative, besides the details of investment made vis-a-vis the plans for developing the blocks, certified by chartered accountant. They were also required to submit investment details in respect of end-use plant. The self-certification as per CA certificate and physical progress reported by the companies was taken on record, and the authorised representatives were given an opportunity to be heard by the IMG,’’ it added.

To facilitate further deliberations, the IMG said that coal controller/Ministry of Coal would provide a status paper for each case, including history of previous reviews and action.