Fate of two PSUs' coal blocks undecided due to court matter

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The Inter-Ministerial Group, which is reviewing the status of coal blocks, has refrained from taking a view on the mines belonging to state-owned Bihar Rajya Khanij Vikas Nigam and West Bengal Mineral Development and Trading Corp as the matter in pending in the court.

The Inter-Ministerial Group (IMG) has decided the fate of 31 out of a total of 33 coal mines that were issued show cause notices and recommended cancellation of 11 mines allocated to public sector firms.

"The IMG did not decide the fate of coal mines of two PSUs--Bihar Rajya Khanij Vikas Nigam (BRKVN) and West Bengal Mineral Development and Trading Corp (WBMDTC--as different courts have ordered maintaining a status quo," a top government official said.

"The mines are Saria Koiyatand of BRKVN and Jaganathpur coal block of WBMDTC," the official added.

The IMG has completed the exercise of scrutiny of blocks alloted to public sector firms, which were issued show cause notices for failing to develop mines within stipulated timeframe.

The panel's earlier recommendation for de-allocation of 13 mines to private firms has already been accepted by the government.

The panel has already concluded the scrutiny of 31 coal blocks allotted to 51 private firms and last month the government had accepted its recommendations for de-allocation of 13 mines and deduction of bank guarantees of 14 allottees.

A total of 58 mines were issued show-cause notices for their failure to develop blocks within stipulated timeline.

The government had formed the IMG in July to review progress of coal blocks allocated to firms for captive use.

The CAG had estimated that undue benefits to the tune of Rs 1.86 lakh crore might accrue to private firms on account of allocation of 57 mines to them without auction.

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