In a relief to Baitarani West Coal Company (BWCCL), the Odisha High Court (HC) passed an interim order asking the union coal ministry not to allot the de-allocated Baitarani West coal block in favour of any other party.
BWCCL is a joint venture company formed in April, 2008 by Odisha Hydro Power Company (OHPC), Gujarat Power Corporation (GPCL) and Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB).
The joint venture firm was awarded the Baitarani West coal block for end-use power plants proposed by the venture. However, the coal ministry had de-allocated the block based on the observation that no progress has been made on any of the three end-use projects to be set up in Odisha, Gujarat and Kerala. Besides, no indication was given by the allocatees on expected date of start of production from the coal block even though the normative date for commencing production was January 25, 2011, the ministry found.
The coal ministry observed that there were serious slippages in timelines of achievements of critical milestones of the coal block like submission of bank guarantee, submission of mining plan, grant of forest clearance, completion of land acquisition and grant of EMP (environment management plan) clearance.
BWCCL filed a petition in the Odisha HC against the order of the Coal Ministry on de-allocation and invocation of 50 per cent bank guarantee in respect of the block.