New Delhi: The public and private sectors companies, which were allotted coal blocks but failed to start production, are under scanner. Coal Ministry has decided to cancel about 200 such blocks, out of which 43 are in Jharkhand.

According to reports, the Centre had allocated 208 coal blocks to the steel and thermal power plants in the past one decade. Despite several reminders, only 26 blocks started production and the rest did not take interest.

Since coal supply is decreasing to meet demands of thermal power units, the Planning Commission has asked the Coal Ministry to increase the production. The ministry, therefore, has decided to take action against the erring companies.

The issue was discussed in the meeting of GoMs headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee.

It may be noted that the country needs 713 million tonne coal, but this year’s production is expected at only 629 million tonne, compelling the government to import 83 million tonne of coal.

In July, 2009, Coal Secretary chaired screening committee meeting and issued showcause notices to 48 companies besides cancelling the allocation of 10 more companies. In the year 2010 also, atleast 84 companies were served notices.

Among the companies which received cancellation notices include TISCO, NTPC, DVC, GVK and Essar.

JPN/Bureau