NEW DELHI: The government on Wednesday initiated the re-allocation of coal blocks as it issued notification for allotment of 36 blocks that were earlier in September cancelled by the Supreme Court of India as the court found that the blocks were allotted through an ‘ad-hoc and casual’ approach ‘without application of mind’.
The apex court had in its observation said, “Common good and public interest suffered heavily in the unfair distribution of the national wealth - coal.”
Of these 36 coal blocks, one mine will be given to the steel sector while the rest will be given to the power sector. “Except one block which will be going for steel sector, rest will be for power sector,” Coal Secretary Anil Swarup told reporters here.
“The ministry is also issuing guidelines for these coal blocks, and added that those firms which already have linkages will have to surrender them.
The Coal Secretary said “Today we are issuing notification for allotment of 36 coal blocks. More mines would be added subsequently depending on the requirement. So it will depend on the request we receive from the state entities, public sector entities,” he added.
“We have enabled such public entities that have already coal linkages. They can surrender the coal linkages and then apply for coal blocks...and once the linkage gets surrendered that much coal will be made available to Coal India to be given to other entities who are in need of coal,” he said.
The government, Swarup said, will be able to complete execution of allotment agreement by the end of next month. Regarding schedule II category (or coal producing mines) 23 blocks will be put on offer and the auction would be between February 14 and February 22 and the vesting orders will be issued by March 23.
About Schedule III mines (ready to produce mines) he said another set of 23 mines will be auctioned between February 25 and March 5. However the vesting orders will be issued by April 2, he said.
He further said that around 167 requests have been received from the companies for visiting the block sites.