No objection if 218 coal blocks cancelled: govt

  • Bhadra Sinha, None, New Delhi
  • Updated: Sep 09, 2014 01:05 IST

The Centre on Monday said it had no objection if the Supreme Court cancelled the 218 coal block allocations it ruled illegal last month.

In an affidavit filed before the apex court, the ministry of coal said it wasn’t insisting on any particular course of action. The ministry said in view of the judgement holding the allocations illegal, the court “may make it clear that the mining leases executed subsequent to the coal allocation would also be deemed to be void and of no legal effect.”

A special bench headed by Chief Justice RM Lodha would take up the affidavit on Tuesday. It will also hear the viewpoint of the three associations representing coal manufacturers.

The government’s affidavit said the allottees’ title of the land acquired in respect of the coal blocks, now declared illegal, would be re-allocated and the allottees should be directed to “re-convey” the land to the Centre.

It also wants clarity on a future course of action vis-à-vis the large number of bank guarantees furnished by the allottees that are currently alive.

The affidavit reiterated that the Centre was not keen to have a committee look into the consequences of the SC verdict. It added that retention of the coal blocks may be considered by the court provided that an additional levy at the rate of `295 per tonne, as suggested by Comptroller and Auditor General, is imposed.

The document also gave details of the 40 blocks producing coal and six that are likely to come under production during the year 2014-15. Of the 40, two are allocated to an ultra mega power project and were not declared illegal by SC in its August 25 judgement, it said.

The 46 blocks can produce 50 million tonnes of coal in the current year, it added. The affidavit also placed on record the gist of information about the mining lease, commencement of production and linked end-use production investment it had got from the allotees of the 46 blocks.

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