New Delhi: Power Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde has written to Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal for a review of the decision to de-allocate five coal blocks awarded to NTPC.

The Power Minister has been in regular touch with his counterpart in the Coal Ministry on this issue and once again exerted pressure in his latest letter for restoration of the de-allocated NTPC coal blocks.

"The (Power) Minister this week has sent a letter to the Coal Ministry regarding NTPC blocks," a senior Power Ministry official told a news agency.

Earlier, the Power Secretary had requested the Coal Secretary to review the Government's decision to de-allocate the coal blocks and restore them to NTPC.

"Earlier, the (Power) Secretary had also written... This time, Shinde himself has communicated," the official said.

The Coal Ministry had de-allocated five coal blocks of the country's largest power producer, NTPC, over its failure to develop the blocks within the timeframe stipulated in the production sharing agreement.

The five blocks -- Chatti Bariatu, Chatti Bariatu (South), Kerandari, Brahmani and Chichiro Patsimal – were awarded to a joint venture between NTPC and state-run Coal India Ltd.

The Coal Ministry had decided to de-allocate mines awarded to companies that had failed to develop them in a time-bound manner on the recommendations of a panel that reviewed the progress made by steel, power, cement and other firms in developing 88 coal and lignite blocks allotted for captive use.

The Coal Ministry also cancelled the allotment of blocks awarded to Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC), Andhra Pradesh Power Generation Corporation (APGENCO), Tenughat Vidyut Nigam, Bihar State Mineral Development Corporation and the Jharkhand State Electricity Board.

Last month, NTPC had asked the Coal Ministry to reconsider the de-allocation of its coal blocks, asserting that project activities were underway when the decision was taken.

Thermal power projects comprise a major chunk of NTPC's current installed generation capacity of over 34,000 MW. The Company plans to increase this capacity to 75,000 MW by 2017.

Meanwhile, the Company is also exploring the possibility of importing coal to bridge the shortfall in domestic supply.

(Agencies)