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Fresh trouble for Naveen govt as CBI probes five coal blocks allocated to state PSUs

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OST Business Bureau

Bhubaneswar, Sep 19:

The Naveen Patnaik led Odisha government, already under attack from the opposition over its indiscriminate and often irrational recommendations for allocation of coal blocks in favour of private companies, seems to have landed in fresh trouble as the CBI is investigating five coal blocks allocated to three state-run PSUs.

The coal blocks under investigation by CBI for alleged irregularities include Utkal-D, Nuagaon Telisahi, Mandakini-B, Manoharpur & Dip side of Manoharpur and Baitarani West.

The investigating agency is investigating whether rules and procedures were followed in awarding the mine development contracts to the PSUs and whether the system adopted by the concerned authorities in formation of joint ventures (JVs) was carried out in a transparent manner after conducting necessary due diligence.

“The CBI inquiry also covers the files relating to grant of mining leases to be granted by the Odisha government. The Government of India has accordingly requested the state government to accord the necessary consent to enable the CBI to inquire into the irregularities”, G Srinivas, Odisha Steel & Mines secretary G Srinivasan wrote to secretary, Energy and chairman cum managing director (CMD) of Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC).

The Steel & Mines department has sought information on three areas – if government companies have awarded contracts for development of coal mines, if the government firms have formed JVs with private companies and whether due procedure and rules have been followed in the process of awarding contracts and formation of JVs.

While both Utkal-D and Mandakini-B were allocated to OMC, the Nuagaon Telisahi coal block was allocated jointly to OMC and Andhra Pradesh Mineral Development Corporation Ltd. OPGC was allocated the Manoharpur and Dip side Manoharpur coal block for pursuing its 1320 MW expansion project. The Baitarani West block was allocated jointly to OHPC along with Gujarat Power Generation Corporation and Kerala State Electricity Board.

The Coal ministry has already de-allocated New Patrapara, Baitarani West, Utkal-D, Mandakini-B and Naini blocks in view of the unsatisfactory progress in their development.

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