IMG recommends cancellation of three more coal blocks

The Inter-Ministerial Group (IMG) on coal on Saturday recommended deallocation of three more coalblocks including one allotted to SKS Ispat and Power in which Tourism Minister Subodh Kant Sahai's brother allegedly had a link and another jointly allotted to Jindal group firm JSW.

With this, the total number of coal blocks recommended by the IMG to the coal ministry for cancellation of licences due to insufficient progress rose to seven. The IMG is curently reviewing coal block allocations which has kicked up a huge political storm.

"The IMG has recommended deallocation of three blocks namely — Gourangdih ABC Coal Block allotted to Himachal EMTA Power Ltd & JSW Steel Ltd, Rawanwara North Coal Block allotted to SKS Ispat and Power Ltd and New Patrapara Coal Block allotted to Bhushan Steel Ltd and others," an official statement said.

"The IMG has recommended deduction of Bank Guarantee in the cases of Nerad Malegaon Block allotted to Gupta Metaliks & Power Ltd & Gupta Coalfields Ltd, Lohari block allotted to Usha Martin Ltd, Radhikapur East Coal Block allotted to Tata Sponge Iron Ltd & others, and Bijahan Coal Block allotted to Bhushan Ltd," the statement added.

On September 13, the IMG had recommended de-allocation of four blocks — Bramhadih Block in Jharkhand allocated to Castron Mining Ltd in 1996, Chinora and Warora (southern part) blocks in Maharashtra given to Fieldmining and Ispat Ltd in 2003, Lalgarh (North) block in Jharkhand allotted to DOMCO Smokeless Fuels Pvt Ltd in 2005.

The panel has so far scrutinised the replies furnished by 18 coal block allottees, in its three meetings in the last four days. It would meet again on Monday.

Some of the blocks recommended for de-allocation find mention in the CAG report, which had recently estimated that undue benefits accrued to private firms due to allocation of 57 mines without auction.

A decision on the recommendations of the IMG will have to be taken by the coal ministry.

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