Govt delays coal block allocation to state-run units

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New Delhi | March 12, 2015 3:52 AM

The government has delayed the allotment of 43 coal blocks to the state-owned entities in what is seen as a bid to leverage the awards to...

The government has delayed the allotment of 43 coal blocks to the state-owned entities in what is seen as a bid to leverage the awards to get regional parties on board for passage of coal mines Bill in Parliament.

Meanwhile, the government on Wednesday agreed to the Opposition’s demand for referring the coal mines and and the mines and minerals Bill to a select committee that will submit its recommendations by March 18.

As per the time line announced by the government earlier, publication of results and intimation to allottee of the mines was to be completed by March 7. The deadline has been allowed to lapse while no other schedule has been announced by the government.

The perusal of list of applicants for coal blocks shows that states run by parties that have traditionally opposed the Centre have applied for maximum number of mines for allocation to their end-use plants. West Bengal has sought 6 — the maximum among states — followed by 5 each from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Other states include Karnataka and Telangana with application for 3 coal blocks each. Odisha and Tamil Nadu have applied for two coal blocks each.

The government is hoping that withholding the allotment  to fuel-starved states, especially those run by regional parties that are not a part of the central government coalition, will provide it with the bargaining chip to shore up its strength in Parliament, specifically in the upper house, to get the coal Bill passed.

“The nominated authority has prepared recommendation for allotment of 43 coal mines and sent them to the government. It is now the prerogative of the government to carry the process forward,” a government source told FE and added that the Centre wants to take the states on board before announcing the allotments.

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