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Government to soon take steps on cancelled coal blocks

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New Delhi Oct 17 :

Coal and Power Minister Piyush Goel Friday said the government is working on plans to deal with the implications of the Supreme Court verdict cancelling coal block allocations.

“The government is fully committed to take the steps required by the Supreme Court judgment. It is working in that direction and in a few days you will know about the measures being taken,” Goyal told reporters here on the sidelines of the SAARC energy ministers meeting.

Piyush Goyal, Union minister for Coal & Power
Piyush Goyal, Union minister for Coal & Power
“The government is seized of its responsibility and will take appropriate steps once the model code of conduct (election) is removed on the 19th (Oct),” he added.

The government is considering auctioning of the cancelled coal blocks through a bidding process.

The apex court last month cancelled 214 coal blocks allocated from 1993 to 2011, except four vested with the NTPC, SAIL and the Sasan Ultra Mega Power Project (UMPP).

An apex court bench granted six months’ breathing time to mining companies to wind up their operations in the coal blocks.

The court also imposed an additional levy of Rs.295 per tonne of coal extracted from exempted or operational mines.

Stressing that contrary to media reports of an impact on fuel supplies, the apex court judgment has instead opened up the possibility of increasing coal production.

“The judgment has a reverse effect from the one media has been speculating about. It has, in fact, opened up the sector. Only 40 mines have been allowed to continue operations. But 178 mines, where nothing was being done, have become available,” Goyal said.

The affected companies had submitted to the court that Rs.287,000 crore have been invested in 157 coal blocks and Rs.400,000 crore in end-use plants.

(IANS)