The government is likely to issue showcause notices to companies that were allotted 32 captive coal blocks seeking detailed explanations for production delays. In some of these, mining hasn’t started even after several years after these were given for specific purposes such as power, steel and cement production.
An inter-ministerial group (IMG), tasked with suggesting action against companies that squatted on these coal blocks without starting work, have recommended issuing show-cause notices to these firms in its meeting held on May 1, sources told HT.
The 32 blocks include those allotted to public sector giants such as NTPC and SAIL and several private companies such as Tata Power, Jindal Steel and Power Limited, GVK Power, Monnet Ispat, Bhushan Steel and Power among others.
“We are yet to receive any notice on this,” said a JSPL spokesperson.
Officials of Monnet Ispat, Bhushan Steel, Tata Power and GVK Power were not immediately available for comments.
Coal ministry officials confirmed that it has received recommendations from IMG and would review the recommendations over the next few days. If the coal ministry does issue the show-cause notices to these firms – which looks certain, given the political turmoil coal block allocations have caused in recent months---the companies will lose their coal block licenses.
Last year, national auditor Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) had said that faulty coal block allocations had led to a potential revenue loss of R1.86 lakh crore to the exchequer.
“The ministry will review the recommendations made by IMG and take a decision to issue a show cause notices to the companies that have been squatting on the captive coal blocks allocated to them,” said a senior coal ministry official. He refused to divulge further details.