Panel overruled Bengal to allot coal block to two pvt firms
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While the Coal Ministry has so far maintained that coal blocks were allotted to private companies on the recommendations of the state government or their representatives, the CBI has found that in 2009, the screening committee overruled the West Bengal government to allot a block to two firms.
The committee allotted the block to Sajjan Jindal's JSW Steel and the Ujjal Upadhyaya-backed Himachal EMTA Power Ltd in an alleged deviation from its earlier decision to make state recommendation and signing of MoU between private companies and the state government mandatory for allocation of blocks.
As per the minutes of the 35th meeting of the committee in New Delhi, "the representative from the government of West Bengal stated that the only block located in their state, namely Gourangdih ABC, should be allotted to West Bengal Mineral Development and Trading Corporation (WBMDTC). Since West Bengal has not forwarded the name of WBMDTC to the screening committee for allocation, the state government asked the Ministry of Coal not to allocate the coal block to anyone and (it) be reserved for allocation to WBMDTC under government company dispensation."
However, the committee overruled this, citing its mandate.
The CBI inquiry has also shown that there were more than six applicants for the Gourangdih coal block, including state PSUs. These included Maithli Energy, Vijay Steel and Energy, Welspun Power and Steel Limited, Bokaro Power Supply Co Ltd, NTPC-SAIL Power Co Ltd etc. However, the committee ruled in favour of the two private companies.
Sources also said that JSW Steel had got one more coal block between 2006-09. Under a joint venture, EMTA, formerly known as Eastern Mineral Trading Agency, and JSW Steel are developing a 250 MW power project in Burdwan, West Bengal.
JSW Steel did not reply to an e-mail sent by The Indian Express in this regard.
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