New Delhi: Government on Monday ruled out cancellation of any coal block allocation till the Inter-Mnisterial Group (IMG), constituted to review the issue, submits its report.

"We have constituted the IMG, which is reviewing 58 coal blocks. It has been asked to submit its report in a time-bound manner and latest by September 15. After that we will decide," Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal told reporters here.

He added that "the (number of) coal blocks which have been reviewed and issued show-cause notices so far is 58. Of these 58, 20 are such which have been reviewed by the CAG".

The IMG, which met today, has so far sent notices to owners of 58 coal blocks, including 25 private companies, for failing to develop the mines alloted for captive use within the given time-frame.

Companies like Reliance Power, Tata Power, Hindalco, Grasim Industries, ArcelorMittal, GVK Power and MMTC figure in the list of 58 that have been issued show-cause notices.

The Coal Minister said he has not received any direction from the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) to expedite and complete the process by September 6.

"I have not received any such instruction," he said, while maintaining that no coal block was allocated during his tenure.

The government auditor CAG in its recent report had stated that undue benefits to the tune of Rs 1.86 lakh crore were extended to private firms on account of allocation of 57 mines to them and part of it could have been accrued to the national exchequer.

The CBI is also probing criminality in 12 firms which were given licences under the 'fast track' category but did not commence mining.

To a particular question, Jaiswal said he has no personal link with Manoj Jaiswal-led Abhijeet Group, which has presence in areas like power, roads, mining, EPC, ferroalloys, steel and cement.

Three coal blocks, allocated to Abhijeet Group's subsidiary Abhijeet Infrastructure in May, 2005, have come under CAG's scanner.

"As far as having Jaiswal surname is concerned, then all Jaiswals of the country are my relatives. If they got coal blocks in UPA-I, then why are you trying to connect it with me? No coal block has been given in the UPA-II... the name you are taking have got the blocks first in NDA government," the Coal Minister said.

According to government records, only 30 mines have begun production out of the total 195 coal blocks allocated to both public and private firms in over a decade.

The government last year had cancelled allocation of 14 coal mines and one lignite mine to companies, including NTPC and Damodar Valley Corporation, for failure to develop blocks.

(Agencies)

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