India de-allocates three more coal blocks
London, 17 September (Argus) — India's inter-ministerial group (IMG) has recommended de-allocating three coal blocks that were not developed within a specified timeframe.
The three are the New Patrapara block awarded to Bhushan Steel, the Rawanwara North block held by SKS Ispat and Power and the Gourangdih ABC block allotted to India's largest steelmaker, JSW Steel, and Himachal EMTA Power. The government last week accepted IMG's recommendation to de-allocate four blocks allocated to local companies that did not develop them within the deadlines specified in their contracts.
The IMG is scheduled to have its next meeting today and six more allocation cases will be discussed.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on 4 September registered five separate cases against private-sector companies that may have obtained coal block allocations under false claims. The CBI is conducting searches of companies in 30 locations across 11 cities, including Nagpur, Kolkata, Bhilai, Yavatmal, Raipur, Dhanbad, Ranchi, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Delhi. The agency suspects that some companies that may have been allocated coal blocks sold them in “an irregular manner”.The CBI is investigating coal block allocations made in 2006-09.
The government allocated over 200 coal blocks in coal-rich areas in 1991-2011, some of which went to private-sector companies for free. India is one of the world's largest coal producers, producing up to 500mn t/yr — the majority of which comes from surface mines.
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