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Home News Power Sector News AG’s opinion sought on coal block verdict

AG’s opinion sought on coal block verdict

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Mukul Rohatgi The Coal Ministry has sought the opinion of Attorney-General Mukul Rohatgi on whether an ordinance was required to implement the Supreme Court judgment cancelling 214 illegal coal block allocations to various companies from 1993 to 2011. The aftermath of the verdict would include forfeiture of bank guarantees and acquisition of land from coal companies whose allocations were cancelled. The government is preparing a blueprint to cover and resolve the complexities which may arise from the verdict.

On August 25, the court had declared the allocations as "arbitrary and illegal," while adding that "there was no fair and transparent procedure."

On September 1, the Supreme Court passed a separate order cancelling all but four of the 218 coal block allocations after the government assured that it was "fully prepared" to face the consequences and would not have any difficulty in taking the coal industry forward.

The court had, however, let 42 functional coal blocks operate till March 31, 2015 to give the government "breathing space to manage the emerging situation."

These 42 blocks were directed to pay an additional levy of Rs. 295 per metric tonne of coal extracted to make up for the Rs. 1.86 lakh crore loss highlighted in the CAG report in the coal scam.

Mr. Rohatgi had said that the six months would be used as a buffer time by the government to prepare a strategy by which "least disturbance" would be caused to the coal industry and the public in general.

The court had dismissed apprehensions expressed by private miners' associations that Coal India Ltd (CIL) would not be equipped to handle the post-cancellation challenges.

With the government confident, the court had observed that "as submitted by the learned Attorney-General, CIL can fill the void and take things forward."

On the impact of the cancellation on industries, Mr. Rohatgi had said "private industries can come back through auction."

Source- The Hindu


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