The Coal Ministry has given three de-allocated mines, including two of NTPC, to CIL and asked it to appoint mine developers to begin the production from these blocks at the earliest.
The Prime Minister's Office (PMO) recently asked the Coal Ministry to fast-track the process of taking back captive blocks from the companies which have not developed them within the stipulated time, and giving them to Coal India Ltd (CIL).
Recently, show-cause notices were also issued to 58 allocates, including RPower, Tata Power, JSW for delaying the production from the blocks.
The country is facing acute coal shortage, hitting hard the power sector and moves are afoot to ensure that the production is enhanced.
"The Coal Ministry has given three deallocated mines a couple of days ago to CIL. It has also asked the PSU to appoint mine developer, operator (MDO) to expedite the development of these blocks," a top official in the ministry said.
The three mines given to CIL are NTPC's Brahmini and Chichro Patsimal coal blocks in Jharkhand and West Bengal Power Development Corporation's (WBPDCL) East of Damagoria (Kalyaneshwari) coal mine, the official said.
In May last year, the Coal Ministry had deallocated Brahmini and Chichro Patsimal coal blocks. Both the blocks were allocated in January 2006 to be jointly operated by a 50:50 joint venture between NTPC and CIL.
The Coal Ministry in the letter last year had stated that it is "of the view that the allocatee company (NTPC) is not serious about development of coal blocks and (the government) has therefore decided to deallocate Brahmini and Chichro Patsimal coal blocks allocated to NTPC".
The Damogoria block was allocated to WBPDCL for its proposed expansion of power plants and setting up of a new 1,000 MW thermal power plant in West Bengal.
WBPDCL had earlier surrendered this mine to Coal India citing its difficulty in developing it. Consequently, the mine was taken back.