Govt seeks affidavit from coal, lignite block allottees

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The government has sought an affidavit by tomorrow from allotees of 46 coal and 15 lignite mines about the status of the blocks for submission to the Supreme Court which is looking into the issue.

The Coal Ministry, which earlier sought the report on the coal blocks from the companies, is now insisting on affidavits so that they could be placed before the apex court.

The companies which have been asked to submit the affidavit include Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL), Hindalco, Jayaswal Neco, SAIL, NTPC and Gujarat Mineral Development Corp (GMDC).

"I am directed to request you to furnish an affidavit... confirming that the information supplied by you...Is true and correct; to the Ministry of Coal by September 4," the ministry said to allotees of 40 producing coal blocks and six coal blocks which may become operational in FY'15.

The ministry has also sought similar affidavit from allottees of 15 lignite producing blocks. Gujarat Mineral Development Corp (GMDC), Gujarat Heavy Chemicals Ltd and Rajasthan State Mines and Minerals Ltd are some of the companies from which the affidavit has been sought.

The government had earlier told the Supreme Court, which is looking into the allocation of mines, that it "wants re-auction of all 218 coal blocks", while seeking its indulgence to "exempt" 40 of them which are functional and ready for the end use power plants.

The Ministry had earlier sought details like date of allotment of mines, date of grant of mining lease, coal production in the last fiscal, coal production since commencement of mining, details of linked end use plant and investment in the coal block.

The Ministry has asked for details of JSPL's Gare Palma IV/2&3 coal blocks, Jindal Power's Gare Palma IV/I mine, Jayaswal Neco Ltd's Gare Palma IV/4 coal block, Hindalco Industries Ltd's Talabira-I coal block, Sasan Power's Moher & Moher Amlori Extension and SAIL's Tasra mine, among others.

Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi had on Monday told the Court that "Government stands by the August 25 judgement. We want re-auction of 218 coal blocks. We will be happy if we save some 40 of them which are functional or operational and ready for end use plant."

He had said there was a need for saving 40 coal blocks from "guillotine of cancellation" as uncertainty of coal availability would affect the plants, when the country is facing acute shortage of power supply.

During the hearing, Rohatgi had said that like the 40 operational mines, there are six others which are "absolutely in readiness" to be operational for end use plant and if the verdict has to be strictly followed "all have to be cancelled with one stroke of brush".


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