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Why coal blocks allotted to companies not in the Power ministry list?, asks SC

A Jan. 13, 2014 picture shows the scene at Ramgarh coal mines in Jharkhand. Photo: Manob Chowdhury.

A Jan. 13, 2014 picture shows the scene at Ramgarh coal mines in Jharkhand. Photo: Manob Chowdhury.  

Industrial groups like Tata and Anil Ambani’s Reliance ADAG were allocated coal blocks despite not being recommended by the Power Ministry during UPA 1 when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was heading the coal ministry, shows a list submitted by the Centre to Supreme Court on Thursday.

A day after the Supreme Court raised questions on how the companies, whose names were not recommended by Central Electricity Authority and Ministry of Power, were allocated coal blocks, the Centre placed a list of 11 such firms which were given blocks for end-use power plants.

The list also includes Tata Power, Reliance Energy Ltd, Balco SKS Ispat and Power, Prakash Industries, Green Infrastructure, Visa Power, Vandana Vidyut, GVK, Gagan Sponge Iron and Lanco Group Ltd.

Attorney General also provided a list of eight companies recommended by Ministry of Power but not selected by Screening Committee. They are Rashmi Cement, TRN Energy, Maithon Power, Mahabir Global Co., Rosa Power Co., Bhushan Energy, Lanco Amarkantak and Vedanta.

The apex court had on Wednesday questioned the Centre over the functioning of the screening committee for allocation of coal blocks in which 11 private companies were allegedly preferred despite not figuring in the recommendations by competent authorities.

“What appears to be for sure is that the screening committee is not accepting the broad guidelines,” it observed while hearing the issue of allocation of coal blocks by screening committee in 2007-08 when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was holding charge of the coal ministry.

Referring to one screening committee decision, the bench said it needs explanation as out of 28 recommendations, it accepted 20 and rejected another 8 while adding on the application of 11 private companies for allocation of coal blocks on its own.

“Of the 28 recommendations made by the CEA and endorsed by the Ministry of Power, 20 were accepted by the screening committee and eight were not. Why was this?

“What were the criteria adopted by the screening committee to exclude eight? Why 11 were added by the screening committee which were not recommended by the CEA and Ministry of Power?

What makes screening committee to add or include the 11 companies/applicants? Please look into it and tell us,” the bench asked the Attorney General.

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Printable version | Jun 6, 2020 4:48:28 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/why-coal-blocks-allotted-to-companies-not-in-the-power-ministry-list-asks-sc/article5582725.ece

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