Coal Ministry not in favour of policy for grant of alternate mineshttps://indianexpress.com/article/news-archive/web/coal-ministry-not-in-favour-of-policy-for-grant-of-alternate-mines/

Coal Ministry not in favour of policy for grant of alternate mines

Amid controversies shrouding coal blocks allocation,the Coal Ministry has said it is not in favour of framing any policy for allotment of alternate mines at present as it may result in huge demand by firms at a time when there is paucity of blocks.

Amid controversies shrouding coal blocks allocation,the Coal Ministry has said it is not in favour of framing any policy for allotment of alternate mines at present as it may result in huge demand by firms at a time when there is paucity of blocks.

“Keeping in view that there are no coal blocks available for allotment now and any policy for allotting alternate coal blocks may result in huge demand for such allocation,it is felt that such policy need not be framed at present,” Coal Ministry has said in an official note.

Not recommending “allocation of coal block outside the rules framed for the purpose of allocation of coal blocks,” the Ministry has said it has identified 54 blocks for grant through competitive bidding and government dispensation route.

“Since the MMDR (Amendment) Act,2010 has come into force and the Rules for Auction through competitive bidding have already been notified,the allocation of coal blocks can be made only under the provisions of the said Act and the rules made there under,” it added.

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The Ministry has also contended that companies like SAIL,RINL,NTPC had earlier surrendered coal blocks alloted to them citing various reasons including difficult geo-mining conditions and requested alternate coal blocks.

But “all along,this Ministry has taken a consistent view that there are no policy/guidelines in this regard,” the note said.

The companies were advised to apply as and when the coal blocks are circulated/advertised for allocation,it said adding even Supreme Court in 2G case had categorically laid down that “in allocation of natural resources,a transparent system is to be followed and the allocation is to be in the interest of public good”.

Meanwhile amid charges of irregularities in block allocation between 1993 and 2009,the Central Vigilance Commission has referred the case to CBI for probing alleged irregularities in allocation process adopted by the Centre.

The government has attracted criticism after a media report quoted a Comptroller and Auditor General report to state that undue benefits of over Rs 1.8 lakh crore accrued to private companies in coal block allocations.

The government,however,has said it has not received any such CAG report.