New Delhi: The government will very soon set up an inter-ministerial panel which will look into the reasons for delay in production from captive coal blocks and suggest measures to fast-track their development amid acute shortage of the fuel across the country.
The panel, under the chairmanship of Joint Secretary, Coal, will comprise of officials from ministries including Power, Steel, Law, Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion.
"An inter-ministerial panel will be set up very soon to examine the replies given by the coal block allocatees, who have been issued show cause notices for not developing the mines and suggest actions," a source in the Coal Ministry close to the development told.
It must be noted that the coal ministry already has a committee, headed by Coal Additional Secretary Zohra Chatterji, which reviews the progress made by the firms in the various sectors such as power, steel and cement, in developing coal blocks allocated to them for captive use.
The panel, which reviewed the progress of coal blocks earlier this year, said the government was under tremendous pressure due to coal shortage and had asked the companies like ArcelorMittal, NMDC and NTPC to expedite development of captive mines allocated to them.
"...government is under tremendous pressure due to shortage of coal...and no further time can be lost in the development of blocks to meet the demand supply gap of domestic coal," Chatterji had said.
Representatives of the companies like Essar Power, NALCO, Bhushan Steel, Sasan Power, Monnet Ispat, Jindal Steel and Power were also part of the meeting chaired by Chatterji.
The Coal Ministry began issuing showcause notices to 58 coal block allocatees in April, warning them of the cancellation of undeveloped mines.
Reliance Power's Sasan, Tata Power, Hindalco, Grasim Industries, SPL, JSW, Bhushan Steel and TVNL, Jharkhand State Mineral Development Corporation and Chhattisgarh Mineral Development Corporation were among the companies to whom notices were issued.
In May last year, the government had cancelled allotment of 14 coal blocks and one lignite block.
The demand-supply gap of coal which touched 161.5 million tonnes (MT) is 2011-12, is expected to go up to 200 MT in 2016-17.


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