8 coal mine allottees may be asked to get green nod by Nov

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The Inter-Ministerial Group (IMG) on coal blocks has recommended giving time until November to obtain forest clearance (FC) for eight mines allotted to companies such as JSPL and Tata Steel.

"IMG, thus recommends that allocatees of eight coal blocks may be advised to obtain FC Stage-II by November 2014, failing which their coal blocks may be deallocated," according to the minutes of an IMG meeting on February 25.

The IMG recently reviewed the progress of 10 coal blocks given to companies, including DB Power Ltd, Essar Power, Tata Steel, Abhijeet Infrastructure, and Jindal Steel and Power.

The Mahan coal block allotted to Essar Power and Hindalco Industries and the Durgapur II/Sarya block given to DB Power have already received forest clearance.

"IMG was unanimous that a single time-line may be prescribed in respect of all the eight blocks without any differentiation. IMG felt that at the most, six months' time could be allowed to these block allocatees for obtaining FC Stage-II," it said.

However, recognising that the general elections in April-May and the model code of conduct would slow down the administrative processes, "nine months' time would be a reasonable period," it added.

The IMG noted its recommendations would be subject to the outcome, if any, of court cases filed by companies whose allotment of coal blocks was being reviewed.

The IMG was set up under the chairmanship of the additional coal secretary to review the progress of development of captive coal blocks allotted to private companies. It has members from various ministries, including steel and power.

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