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News Brief | September 2012

Govt to de-allocate idling coal blocks

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh informed that his government initiated action to cancel the coal block allocations of allottees who did not take adequate follow-up action to commence production.

He said this in a statement at both the houses of Parliament. Singh's rebuttal came in the wake of the Government auditor CAG computing that private firms gained a whopping Rs 1.86 lakh crore undue benefit from allocation of 57 coal blocks without competitive bidding between 2005 and 2009.

Contending that CAG's observations were "clearly disputable", he stressed that the CBI was also "separately investigating" the allegation of malpractices on the basis of which due action will be taken against wrongdoers, if any.

The government had earlier said that of the 57 blocks allocated, 20 fall in no go areas and only one was operational out of the remaining 37. The CAG, in its report tabled in Parliament on 17 August, named 25 companies including Reliance Power, Essar Power, Hindalco, Tata Steel, Tata Power and Jindal Steel and Power who had got the blocks in various states.
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