The Tatas have refuted allegations of wrong doing in allotment of coal blocks in Odisha for their joint venture coal-to-liquid (CTL) project.

Strategic Energy Technology Systems Pvt. Ltd. (SETSPL), a joint venture between a consortium of Tata companies and Sasol of South Africa, said that it was allocated a coal block in a structured process based on pre-determined criteria.

“The joint venture was not meted out any extraordinary treatment, as has been reported,” Tata Sons said in a statement.

With CTL projects being highly capital-intensive, they were viable only with captive coal blocks allocated on a nomination basis, Tata Sons said. Based on a stringent comparative evaluation, SETSPL was allocated north of Arkhapal and Srirampur coal block in the Talcher region of Odisha in February 2009, it added. The execution of the prospecting licence, granted in Match 2012, is still pending, without which exploration cannot proceed.

“Actual exploration is required to determine if the block has appropriate quantity and quality of coal reserves for the CTL project. In the event that the block has insufficient reserves of the appropriate quality for CTL, then the block will be returned to the government,” Tata Sons said.

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