New Delhi: The coal ministry has cancelled the allotment of five coal blocks, which includes three given to state-run generation utility NTPC and one-one each from Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) and Jharkhand State Electricity Board. The cancellation of coal blocks have been done on the ground that the ‘production has not started in time and companies were not serious in developing them’.

NTPC was given Chhati Bariatu (South), Chatti Bariatu and Kerandari blocks in Jharkhand. Chatti Bariatu and Kerandari blocks in North Karanpura coalfields were allocated in 2006, while it got Chatti Bariatu (South) in 2007. The production capacity of these three blocks is 2.6 crore tonnes.

Saharpur Jamarpani and Banhardih both in Jharkhand are the other blocks, where the allocation has been cancelled. Saharpur Jamarpani was allocated to DVC in 2007, and Banhardih given to Jharkhand State Electricity Board in 2006.

NTPC in a strong response termed the move as irrational, and claimed that the company had carried out more work in its block when compared to other private firms. A top company executive maintained that NTPC is dedicated towards put in all efforts for a project.

"If compared with the contemporary coal blocks, NTPC is ahead of others. Even the blocks adjoining to these coal blocks in North Karanpura coalfield are much behind NTPC's blocks and yet they are not in the de-allocation list," the executive further added.

The Power Ministry in a letter to the Coal Ministry earlier this month, had asked for an immediate review of the decision to cancel allocations to NTPC. The Power Ministry had expressed concern that NTPC's plans of adding over 15,000-mw generation capacity were likely to get hit if the allocations were cancelled.

The letter prompted Union Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal to say his ministry would review its decision, provided the reasons put forward by the power major for its failure to develop the blocks were genuine.

Last year, the coal ministry had issued notices on allocation of 84 coal and four lignite blocks. It had sought explanations from the companies about why their allocation should not be cancelled.

JPN/ Bureau