The government on Monday cancelled the allocation of another coal block over allegations of irregularities and deducted bank guarantees of two allottees for failing to develop the mines in time. The cancelled allocation was that of Gourangdih ABC block given to JSW Steel and Himachal EMTA.
The move follows the recommendation of the inter-ministerial group (IMG), which is scrutinising 29 blocks awarded to the private parties out of the total 58 that were issued showcause notices for delays in development. Some of these find mention in the Comptroller and Auditor General’s recent performance audit report on captive coal blocks. With this, the government has approved the cancellation of the licences of five coal blocks, out of a total seven recommended by the IMG so far. ?I have approved the IMG’s recommendations given on Friday and will take a call on others,? coal minister Sriprakash Jaiswal said ahead of the meeting of the panel, scheduled on Monday afternoon.
The IMG had on Friday recommended deallocation of the Gourangdih ABC mine, given jointly to JSW Steel and Himachal EMTA, in 2009. The block has 61.54 million tonne (mt) of extractable reserves and the coal from the mine was meant to be used for a power project.
The block finds mention in the CAG report as well. The government auditor had said the allottees of the block, located in West Bengal, might have accrued undue benefit of R1,818 crore.
Earlier, on September 13, the government had decided to de-allocate four blocks ? Bramhadih Block in Jharkhand allocated to Castron Mining in 1996, Chinora and Warora (southern part) blocks in Maharashtra given to Fieldmining and Ispat in 2003 and Lalgarh (North) block in Jharkhand allotted to DOMCO Smokeless Fuels in 2005.
It had also accepted the IMG recommendations to deduct bank guarantee in case of Marki Mangli-II, III and IV blocks in Maharashtra, allocated to private player Shri Virangana Steels besides, asking Monnet Ispat & Energy to submit BG for Utkal B2 Block in Odisha allocated to it.