The Inter-Ministerial Group on coal blocks will meet next week to decide the fate of 61 mines alloted to companies such as Tata Steel, Hindalco and JSPL which were issued notices for not developing them.
"The 24th meeting of the IMG under the Chairmanship of Additional Secretary (Coal) will be held on February 7 and 8...to consider replies along with documents furnished by the coal block allocatees in response to the notice issued," the Coal Ministry said in a meeting notice. The cases of allocatees who are required to obtain forest clearance (stage II) will be taken up subsequently, the notice said.
In the two-day meeting, IMG will consider replies of 29 coal blocks of companies like Tata Steel, JSW Steel and Bhushan Power and Steel on February 7. On February 8, the replies of the remaining 32 coal blocks alloted to firms like Monnet Ispat and Energy and Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL) will be considered.
The government had earlier decided to deallocate all the captive coal blocks which have not obtained environment and in-principle forest clearances and has issued show-cause notice to allocatees of 61 such mines. The development followed the Supreme Court's posing some tough queries on allocation process for coal blocks and questioning the Centre over the functioning of the screening committee that made allotment recommendations.
"The following coal blocks will be deallocated... Coal blocks where environmental clearance and forest clearance stage-I (in-principle) have not been obtained," the Coal Ministry had earlier said in a letter to allocatees of 61 blocks. Coal blocks, which are unexplored or partially explored at the time of allocation and where prospecting licence (PL) has not been obtained, will also be cancelled, it had said.
The letter further added that in cases of coal blocks where PL has been issued but geological reports have not been prepared will also be cancelled. The allocatees have been given time till February 5 to obtain the requisite clearances and produce proofs in support of approvals.