New Delhi: Coal India Ltd (CIL) on Friday said the government has extended the tenure of acting Chairman N C Jha for another three months on account of continuing delays in the process of appointment of a suitable candidate for the top post at the state-run company.

Jha, who is the public sector firm's Director (Technical), was given the additional charge of Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) after Partha S Bhattacharyya retired on February 28 this year.

"In terms of the Ministry of Coal order dated August 30, 2011, N C Jha has assumed the additional charge of CMD, CIL, with effect from September 1, 2011, for a period of three months or till a regular appointment is made or until further orders, whichever is earlier," CIL said in a filing to the BSE.

The decision was taken on account of delays in vigilance clearance of the contenders for the top post at the state-owned firm, a company official said.

The Coal Ministry had earlier extended Jha's tenure for three months in June.

Tapas Kumar Lahiry, the Chairman on Bharat Coking Coal Ltd (BCCL), a subsidiary of CIL, had emerged as the front-runner for the top post at CIL when the selection process concluded in November, 2010. The CMD of Western Coalfields Ltd, D C Garg, was also shortlisted for the post.

The state-owned firm accounts for over 80 percent of domestic coal production.