Have right to allocate coal blocks, Centre to tell SC
Last week the Supreme Court questioned the Centre’s authority to allocate coal blocks during the hearing of a public interest litigation regarding 'coalgate'. The court observed that the existing policy ( where coal blocks are “allocated” by the Centre while mining leases are granted by states concerned) gave no choice to states as they have to grant mining leases to whoever is allocated the block by the Centre. It felt that the Centre has a lot of “legal explanation” to do as the statutory Act empowers only the states to undertake the task of allocation (licensing).
Srivastava said that the court has just made an observation and the ministry is confident that it has sufficient grounds to prove its point. While there are fears that the SC's observations could affect the Centre's liberal captive coal policy (under the policy, blocks are auctioned to private players while the PSUs and government
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