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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Govt takes back 3 mines from utilities, and asks Coal India to develop them

Govt takes back 3 mines from utilities, and asks Coal India to develop them

New Delhi, June 28 (PTI): The Coal Ministry has given three de-allocated mines, including two of NTPC Ltd, to Coal India Ltd and asked it to appoint mine developers to begin the production from these blocks at the earliest.

The Prime Minister's Office (PMO) recently asked the Coal Ministry to fast-track the process of taking back captive blocks from the companies which have not developed them within the stipulated time, and giving them to CIL.

Recently, show-cause notices were also issued to 58 allocates, including Reliance Power, Tata Power, Jindal Steel Works for delaying the production from the blocks.

The country is facing acute coal shortage, hitting hard the power sector and moves are afoot to ensure that the production is enhanced.

"The Coal Ministry has given three de-allocated mines a couple of days ago to CIL. It has also asked the Power supply unit to appoint mine developer, operator (MDO) to expedite the development of these blocks," a top official in the ministry told PTI.

The three mines given to CIL are NTPC's Brahmini and Chichro Patsimal coal blocks in Jharkhand and West Bengal Power Development Corp's East of Damagoria (Kalyaneshwari) coal mine, the official said.

In May last year, the Coal Ministry had de-allocated Brahmini and Chichro Patsimal coal blocks. Both the blocks were allocated in January 2006 to be jointly operated by a 50:50 joint venture between NTPC and CIL.

The Coal Ministry in the letter last year had stated that it is "of the view that the allocatee company (NTPC) is not serious about development of coal blocks and (the government) has therefore decided to de-allocate Brahmini and Chichro Patsimal coal blocks allocated to NTPC".

The Damogoria block was allocated to WBPDCL for its proposed expansion of power plants and setting up of a new 1,000 mw thermal power plant in West Bengal.

WBPDCL had surrendered this mine to the Coal Ministry citing difficulty in developing it.

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