Coal auction winners run into delays

Some of the winners of the initial rounds of coal block auctions including GMR, NTPC, Reliance Cement, UltraTech Cement and Monnet Ispat have rushed to the Union coal ministry to help them settle the various issues that have delayed the working of the mines they have won

The hurdles include environmental issues, clearances, land acquisitions.

UltraTech Cement has won the Bicharpur mine, located in MP whose which was earlied allotted MP State Mining Corp.

UltraTech has approached the ministry as the block area is 500 hectare (ha), out of which mining lease was executed by previous allocate for 389.19 ha and 110.81 ha was in process of Stage 2 Forest Clearance, sources said.

It would take at least two years’ time for completion of mine development while another three years would be taken to reach its peak annual capacity of 0.75 million tonne, UltraTech has told the ministry.

GMR Chhattisgarh Energy has approached coal ministry’s project monitoring cell for two of the mines won by them during the recently held auction: Ganeshpur and Talabira – 1 coal blocks while Reliance Cement has gone for Sial Ghogri block, sources said.

Monnet Ispat & Energy has gone to the ministry for the Gare Palma IV, an operational block under schedule II whose prior allottee was Sarda Energy & Minerals.

Monnet wants the clearances and approvals that are to be transferred in its name for continuation of mining operations.

Of all these allottes, NTPC’s issues with Pakri Barwadih is most acute.

While the block was allotted to NTPC way back in 2004, contractor could only be appointed in 2010 because of approval hurdles, land acquisition and environment clearances.

On top of this, the political situation forced NTPC to raise compensation from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 15 lakh an acre and then again to Rs 20 lakh, NTPC has said in its application.

“The original Mine Development and Operation contract had to be terminated due to no work at the site for the last 4-5 years and new MDO is likely to be appointed very soon,” NTPC said.

These projects join the list of those awaiting continuous hand holding by the government under the coal project monitoring group.

The ministry claims it has till date resolved all issues relating to 16 odd projects worth about a little over Rs 6,000 crore.

Success is limited as till recently there were about 110 such coal related projects worth 12,000 crore before the group.

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