“They need to be dealt with firmly and their blocks de-allocated as per the terms”

The Coal Ministry has acknowledged that the conduct of the coal block allottees, some of whom are among those who were issued show-cause notices and raided by the CBI, had not been above board as they diverted coal for sale in the open market in violation of the condition of allotment and sold their companies at a heavy premium after getting a coal block. This acknowledgement came in its internal note on coal policy.

However, the Ministry is of the view this was a distinct and separate issue from the policy and procedure for allotment of captive coal blocks.

“The misconduct and violation of rules by the coal allottees could take place irrespective of whether the captive coal blocks are allotted through competitive bidding or through the screening committee. Such allottees need to be dealt with firmly and their blocks de-allocated as per the terms of their allotment,’’ the note states.

In a related development, Minster of State for Coal Pratik Prakashbapu Patil informed Parliament in a written reply that five coal blocks out of the 25 cancelled so far, with an estimated reserve of 3,155 million tonnes (MT), have been reallocated to Coal India, Congress MP Naveen Jindal-owned Jindal Steel Power Limited (JSPL) and a consortium of public and private players.

Three of the de-allocated blocks — Brahmani, Chichro Pastimal and East of Damagoria — with a total reserve of 2,593 MT were handed over to Coal India in 2012 while Utkal B-1 with 228 MT reserves was given to Jindal Steel and Power in 2003, he said.

The remaining block — Utkal A (along with Gopal Prasad block) with 333 MT of coal — was given jointly to CIL subsidiary Mahanadi Coalfields, JSW Steel, Jindal Thermal, Jindal Stainless Steel and Shyam DRI in 2005, he said.

The government has so far allocated a total of 195 coal blocks including 111 to private firms under the Coal Mines (Nationalisation) Act, 1973. These include 51 in Jharkhand, 41 in Chhattisgarh, 33 in Orissa, 25 in Madhya Pradesh, 24 in Maharashtra, 19 in West Bengal and one each in Andhra Pradesh and Arunachal Pradesh.

More In: National | News