Coal block allotted to JSW & EMTA axed

Coal block allotted to JSW & EMTA axedAccepting the recommendation of the Inter Ministerial Group (IMG), the Coal Ministry on Monday cancelled the coal block allotted to JSW Steel Ltd. and Himachal EMTA Power Ltd.

JSW Steel Ltd. and Himachal EMTA Power Ltd. were allotted Gourangdih ABC coal block, but the IMG recommended the de-allocation of the block on Friday, after the company failed to convince the group on why it could not develop the block and start production in time.

After de-allocating the block, Union Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal said, "We have accepted the recommendations the IMG made on Friday. We are waiting for the files of Saturday's meeting and more mines will be cancelled in the coming days."

So far, the coal ministry has cancelled five blocks held by five private companies, including Field Mining & Ispat and Castron Mining.

The IMG has also recommended cancellation of bank guarantees submitted by coal companies for three blocks. However, the coal ministry is yet to endorse the recommendations.

The IMG has also recommended forfeiting of the bank guarantees submitted by Tata Power and Hindalco for a Jharkhand-based coal block.

The Jharkhand-based coal block was awarded to Tata Power and Hindalco in 2007 for power generation, but the IMG recommended the cancelatin of the block due to long delays in development of the block. The block has a reserve of 130 million tones of coal. The block was also mentioned in the CAG report, which triggered the government action.

The IMG was formed after the government encountered severe criticism over alleged irregularities in coal block allocations. The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India said in its report that arbitrary allocation of the coal blocks to private companies cost the taxpayers around Rs. 1.86 lakh crore.