New Delhi: Acting tough on companies for going slow in exploiting the coal reserve, Union Coal Ministry on Thursday cancelled the allotment of 15 coal blocks to six companies including National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) – the biggest power generating company in the country.

The cancelled blocks include 5 coal mines of NTPC and one coal block of Jharkhand and Bihar Electricity Board each.

The decision of the Coal Ministry is set to raise political temperature between the Centre and the states as both Jharkhand and Bihar governments have been blaming the Centre for not allotting coal blocks for setting up power plants.

However, Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal has refuted all such charges stating that Bihar was provided with 2 coal blocks in 2006 while Jharkhand has received 16 coal blocks till date.

“They have not developed even a single block. Despite that only one block in Bihar and two blocks in Jharkhand are being cancelled so that they can develop other coal blocks,” Said Jaiswal.

All the five cancelled blocks of NTPC are based in Jharkhand. Apart from that, Banharia coal block allocated to Jharkhand Electricity Board has also been cancelled.

The Ministry said this block should have been operational from May, 2012 but even primary work at this mine has not been started yet. Even if the work starts now, it will take another 5-6 years to start production.

Other cancelled blocks include Saharpur, Jamarpani and Gondulpara which were allocated to Damodar Valley Corporation.

Saria Khoyatand coal block was allocated to BRKBNL of Bihar in 2006 on the condition that production would start from May, 2012.

Later, the Coal Ministry had served notice to these companies in this regard. However, the Ministry was not satisfied with their replies and decided to annul their allocation.

JPN/Bureau