The Jharkhand high court on Tuesday sought a reply from the Union coal ministry in response to petitions filed by Tata Steel and five other companies challenging the ministry’s decision to de-allocate the captive coal blocks allotted to them in Jharkhand.
The ministry on January 15 had slapped notices on 61 private companies including the following six - Tata Steel, Tata Power Company Limited, Essar Power Limited, Corporate Ispat Alloys Limited, Castron Mining Limited and Rungta Mines - asking them to submit environment and forest clearance within three weeks failing which a decision for de-allocation of the coal blocks would be taken.
The companies had moved the high court challenging the notices slapped on them. They pleaded that a very short time was granted by the coal ministry for furnishing environment and forest clearances. Responding to the companies’ plea, the high court on February 11 had passed an interim order asking the coal ministry not to take any coercive steps against these companies till further order.
Even after this, the ministry on February 19 had decided to de-allocate the coal blocks granted to these companies but kept its order in abeyance in view of the high court’s directive.
The aggrieved companies on Tuesday filed amendment petitions challenging the ministry’s decision to de-allocate the coal blocks.
The bench of justice NN Tiwari sought reply from the ministry by April 9, the next date of hearing.
The petitioners contended that they should be granted environment and forest clearances expeditiously so that the requirements of the ministry could be fulfilled.