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Chhattisgarh starts exercise to save its coal blocks

Chhattisgarh government had started the exercise to save the coal blocks it was allotted after uncertainty prevailed following Supreme Court declaring as “arbitrary and illegal” the allocation of 153 coal blocks between 1993 and 2010.

The state-run Chhattisgarh Mineral Development Corporation (CMDC) and Chhattisgarh State Power Generation Company (CSPGC) had been allotted four coal blocks. The state government had started exploring the possible options that would help retaining the hold on blocks in the backdrop of apex court order.

“The state government is considering the legal option and will file an affidavit in the Supreme Court with a request to allow the state-owned companies to retain the coal blocks,” a senior official said. Chief Minister Raman Singh also held a lengthy discussion on the issue with the energy department officials to explore the legal options.

The official said the power company officials had been asked to be in touch with the officials in the ministry of coal to work on common strategy. The ministry had requested the apex court not to cancel the allocation of 46 coal blocks that had started production. Of the 46, eight are located in Chhattisgarh state.

The four blocks allotted to the state-run companies are not in the same category. The blocks were yet to be developed. The four blocks had received the environment clearance and the process was on to start production in the mines soon.

Following the court ruling, 37 coal blocks allotted in Chhattisgarh over a period of two decades had come under the scanner. Of the 37 blocks, 24 coal blocks had been allocated to 50 private companies while 13 coal blocks were given to nine public sector companies.

The latter are the state-run power companies or mineral development corporation from the states of Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Goa and Madhya Pradesh.


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