Updated: September 24, 2014 7:38:21 pm
Former Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal on Wednesday said the Supreme Court has accepted the previous UPA government’s suggestion of cancellation of coal blocks which were allocated since 1993.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday quashed allocation of 214 coal blocks which were alloted to various companies since 1993.
“The Supreme Court has accepted our (previous UPA government) suggestion that all the coal block which were allocated since 1993 be cancelled,” Jaiswal said.
The controversy over allocation of coal blocks had started when Jaiswal was the coal minister.
In 2012, Jaiswal had written to to Central Vigilance Commission seeking a CBI probe into all the coal blocks allocated since 1993 when Government had started allocation to private players for captive use.
In a major blow to the corporate sector, the Supreme Court on Wednesday quashed allocation of 214 out of 218 coal blocks which were alloted to various companies since 1993 and in which it was claimed that around Rs 2 lakh crores were invested.
A bench, headed by Chief Justice R M Lodha, saved only four blocks–one belonging to NTPC and SAIL each and two allocated to Ultra Mega Power Projects–from being cancelled.
The bench, also comprising justices Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph, granted six months breathing time to mining companies to wind up their operations in the coal blocks.
The bench also directed the companies, which were allocated coal blocks but had not operationalised them, to pay a compensation to the government for the loss of exchequer. It accepted the findings of the CAG which came to the conclusion that the loss of Rs 295 per tonne was caused due to the non-operation of the mines.
The apex court also noticed the stand taken by the NDA government that it is “fully prepared to face socio-economic impact” if the coal block allocations were cancelled.
During the earlier hearing in the case, the UPA govt had opposed cancellation of coal blocks allocation saying that around Rs 2 lakh crore had been invested by various companies after blocks were alloted to them.
The apex court had on August 25 held that all coal blocks allocation since 1993 by various regimes at the Centre have been made illegally and arbitrarily.
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