Captive coalmines without green clearances would be de-allocated

The Coal Ministry has warned 61 private firms including Jindal Steel and Power, Tata Steel, ArcelorMittal and Adani Power that their captive coalmines will be de-allocated if they have not obtained forest and environment clearances.

The firms have to file replies to the show-cause by February 12, failing which their coal blocks would be de-allocated.

Among the 61 companies are Hindalco, JSW Steel, Essar Power, Tata Power, GVK Power and Infrastructure, Ultratech Cement, Reliance Energy, Sterlite Energy, JP Associates, Hindustan Zinc Limited and Rungta Mines.

The ministry’s move comes in the backdrop of the Supreme Court reserving judgment on the issue on Thursday. The court posed some tough questions on the allocation process and questioned the Centre on the functioning of the screening committee that made allotment recommendations.

According to the letter, issued on January 15 by S.K. Shahi, Director (CA-II), coal blocks that were unexplored or partially explored at the time of allocation and which do not have the prospecting licence (PL), as also blocks for which the PL has been issued but geological reports have not been prepared, will also be cancelled.

Blocks already under CBI scrutiny — such as Essar Power and Hindalco’s Mahan coal block, Brinda, Sasai and Meral blocks of Abhijeet Infrastructure, AMR Iron and Steel’s Bander block — figure in the list along with the Fatehpur block, allocated to SKS Ispat & Power Ltd, the company allegedly linked to the former Union Minister Subodh Kant Sahay.

“Within a week thereafter, after February 5, a decision for de-allocation will be taken,” says the letter. Allottees who have secured EC and FC Stage-I and have applied for FC stage-II (final clearance) have time till February 12 to submit their response along with documentary evidence to back their claims.

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