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Government says no cancellation of coal blocks till IMG submits report

September 3, 2012 - New Delhi

The Government has confirmed that they have no plans of cancellation of any coal block allocation till the Inter-Ministerial group (IMG) that was formed to review the status and submits its report.

Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal told reporters, "We have constituted the IMG, which is reviewing 58 coal blocks. It has been asked to submit its report in a time-bound manner and latest by September 15. After that we will decide... the coal blocks which have been reviewed and issued show-cause notices so far is 58. Of these 58, 20 are such which have been reviewed by the CAG".

Finance Minister P Chidambaram rejected the opposition's demand for the cancellation of the 142 coal blocks. Speaking to the media, he said that the demand of the opposition for the resignation of Prime Minister was outrageous. He said that the government has allocated the coal blocks only through a fair procedure and not some arbitrary method.

The IMG has so far set notices to 58 coal blocks, which included 25 private companies for failing to develop the mines within the given time-frame. Show-case notices were issued to companies like Reliance Power, Tata Power, Hindalco, Grasim Industries, ArcelorMittal, GVK Power and MMTC. Though the immediate focus of IMG is on 58 coal blocks, as many as 90 mines could face the threat of de-allocation.

The CAG in its recent report stated that undue benefits were extended to private firms resulting in a loss of over Rs. 1.86 crore to the exchequer during the period of 2004-09. Out of the 195 coal blocks allocated in the over a decade, only 30 mines have begun production according to government records.

Andhra News

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