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Friday, March 9, 2012

Companies may lose licence for going slow on coal blocks

Fri, 09 Mar 2012

ET reported that TATA Power, Reliance Power, ArcelorMittal, Jindal Steel and Power and Monnet Ispat & Energy are among 60 companies that face risk of cancellation of mining licenses for being slow in exploration of coal blocks.

A review committee headed by coal ministry's additional secretary Ms Zohra Chatterjee has recommended issuing 'show-cause notices' for 58 blocks asking for reasons why mining licenses should not be revoked. A coal ministry official said appropriate action would be initiated against companies that are not able to justify the delay.

The official said that "We are reviewing allotment to non-serious companies that are simply sitting on the blocks. Some allottees are yet to start any activities on the site. Some blocks are delayed due to problems in land acquisition, delayed regulatory clearances, local agitation and law and order issues.”

The companies include Hindalco Industries, TATA Sponge, Electro Steel Casting, MMTC, National Aluminium Co Ltd and power and mining utilities of Jharkhand, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.

Coal ministry's latest review found that only 29 of 195 allotted coal blocks have started production while progress at 90 blocks was found dissatisfactory as critical milestones like acquisition of land, forest clearances and execution of mining lease were not achieved for various reasons.

Captive mines are expected to generate just about 36 million tonnes by this fiscal against targeted 81 million tonnes, scaled down from 104 million tonnes after mid-term review by the Planning Commission.

Caution notices will be issued to about 28 companies, including National Thermal Power Corporation, Steel Authority of India, Jai Prakash Associates, Jindal Steel & Power and GVK Power, for slow progress at 32 blocks.

The committee has also advised owners of another 58 blocks to follow up aggressively with the environment ministry for securing clearances. The committee also recommended de-allocation of two lignite blocks.

The government has till date revoked mining licenses for 23 captive coal blocks that were later allotted to Coal India Ltd.

Source - Economic Times

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