The government has decided to give firms, including JSPL and Tata Steel, more time to seek clearances from Environment Ministry and furnish proof on the same to Coal Ministry by December 1, failing which their mines would be deallocated.
"Accordingly, you are advised to take necessary steps for obtaining FC (Forest Clearance) stage-II from the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) by November 30, 2014 and furnish the proof thereof to this ministry by December 1, 2014 failing which...coal block (s) would be deallocated without further notice," the coal ministry said in letters to the firms.
The decision was taken following the recommendations of an inter-ministerial group (IMG) on coal blocks.
"After due deliberation, the 26th IMG recommended that the allocatees of...coal block (s) may be advised to obtain FC stage-II by November, 2014, failing which coal block(s) may be deallocated. The above recommendation of the 26th IMG has been accepted by the competent authority," the ministry said.
The IMG had on February 25 reviewed the progress of 10 coal blocks allocated to companies like Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL), JSW Steel and Tata Steel, among others.
"Accordingly, IMG reviewed these 10 coal blocks..allocated to your company (ies). Explanations/documents submitted and presentation made by your company (ies) were carefully considered by the IMG along with inputs received from the state government...MoEF and other ministries present in the IMG," the ministry added.
The companies which were asked to seek clearances include Tata Steel Ltd and Adhunik Thermal Energy Ltd for Ganeshpur coal block, Nilchal Iron and Power Ltd and Bajrang Ispat (P) Ltd for Dumri coal block and JSPL for Jitpur coal block. Jayaswal Neco for Moitra coal block, Usha Martin Ltd for
Lohari coal block and JSW Steel Ltd, Bhushan Power and Steel Ltd and Jai Balaji Industries Ltd for Rohne coal block, the ministry added.
The ministry further said that the panel initially reviewed 61 mines. Subsequent to review, it was seen that
there were 10 blocks which had obtained environment and forest clearance stage 1. Therefore, the review of the 10 blocks was undertaken by the IMG on February 25.
Of these 61 blocks, the government had earlier taken a decision to cancel 28 mines of firms like JSPL, Arcelor Mittal and Sterlite Energy for delays in developing the mines.