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Govt seeks AG opinion on ordinance for coal block deallocation

The ministry is seeking the attorney general's advice on the issue of bank guarantee forfeited/imposed on the allocatee companies and cancellation of mining leases.

Mail Today Bureau | October 7, 2014 | Updated 11:39 IST
Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi
Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi

The coal ministry has sought attorney general Mukul Rohatgi's opinion on whether the government needs to bring out an Ordinance to deal with the issues arising from the Supreme Court's (SC) decision decision to cancel the allocation of 214 coal blocks.

"The issues that need to be sorted out by the government in the coal mine case include forfeiting of bank guarantees and title deeds of the land mines purchased by the companies," a senior official said.

The ministry is seeking advice of the attorney general on the issue of bank guarantee forfeited/imposed on the allocatee companies, the cancellation of mining leases, the right and title of the land purchased by the allocatee companies. Once the advice of the attorney general comes in, the ministry will take a view on the Ordinance so as to deal with the implications of SC's order in the coal case. The apex court had last month quashed the allocation of 214 coal blocks allotted to various companies since 1993.

The ministry has said that with SC clearing the air regarding the coal blocks, it will make efforts to ensure that the fuel is made available for electricity generation and the crisis at power plants is eased. The coal stock position at thermal power plants is critical as more than half of the generating stations have less than a week's supply.

A senior official said that the coal ministry is keen to move forward in the matter of allocating the coal blocks which stand reverted to the government. The government appreciates the gesture of the court in granting six months to the allottees as also to the government to complete the process of fresh allocation. The government is conscious of its obligations and responsibilities to ensure maximum coal production, the official added.

Meanwhile, the policy of coal mines auction and methodology is being revisited under the direction of Advisory Council headed by Suresh Prabhu.

According to sources, the ministry, which is awaiting recommendations of the council, will finalise the policy with changes within a month as part of the future course of action following SC's judgment on coal mines. There is also a proposal to form an inter-ministerial committee (IMC) under the chairmanship of additional secretary, coal, to explore all options on the way forward in light of SC's judgment.

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