Ruling out any fresh land valuation of the recently-auctioned coal blocks, the coal ministry has held that the existing character of the land is sacrosanct and needs no fresh assessment.
Some state governments are of the opinion that the land, of the 31 coal blocks auctioned earlier this year, may need fresh valuation for transfer and mutation purposes. The ministry on Tuesday wrote to the chief secretaries of seven states that all land owned by the previous mine owners, whether acquired by the government or a private party, has been directly vested to the bidders who won the blocks via three tranches of auctions conducted under the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act, 2015.
“Whatever be the earlier character of the land…it acquires the nomenclature of land acquired/owned by the prior allottee. There is thus no scope for fresh valuation of the land,” the ministry told the chief secretaries of Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, West Bengal and Jharkhand. The guidelines of these state governments which stipulate payment of money on the basis of assessment of present value of land are not applicable in the cases of vesting done under the said Act. “ It is also pertinent to mention that the special Act has an overriding effect on any other law inconsistent with it and therefore, the provisions of the Act will prevail over any rule or guideline which provides for revaluation of land,” the ministry said in its letter.
The successful bidders will have to pay stamp duty and registration or mutation charges to the respective state governments and they were already told about it in the pre-bid meetings held with the Nominated Authority, which oversaw the auctions, the ministry said. It asked the governments of these states to expedite transfer or grant of necessary clearances to the successful allocatees, so that mining in the coal mines auctioned/allotted can commence. Till date, 31 mines have been auctioned under the Act while 27 blocks have been allotted to state-run enterprises. But, delays in getting requisite approvals has translated into only seven of them commencing production.
A senior ministry official told The Indian Express on Wednesday that it would terminate the coal mine production and development agreement (CMPDA) with successful bidders who have failed to furnish upfront payment within 25 days as mandated under the CMPDA.
On Thursday the ministry decided to terminate its agreement signed with Crest Steel and Power Private Limited, a company which had won the Bhaskarpara block in Chhattisgarh on August 31 saying that it has failed to furnish the upfront payment.
“We have also decided to terminate the CMPDA with Crest Steel and Power and also forfeit the bank guarantee submitted by the company worth Rs 2,39,57,256,” he added.