'Captive Mines Offer Lower Output Than Target'

At a time when the Supreme Court is set to take a call on captive mines, the Coal Ministry has informed the Prime Minister's Office that firms allotted blocks for end-use plants have just produced 39 MT of coal in FY'14, missing their target for the fiscal.

The production target set from the captive coal blocks in FY 2013-14 was 50 million tonnes (MT), a source close to the development said.

The apex court has held meanwhile that all coal blocks since 1993 have been allocated illegally and arbitrarily, bringing uncertainty to the fate of 218 block allocations.

Of the total, 40 blocks are in production and 6 are likely to become operational in the current fiscal, the source said.

The government has told the Supreme Court that it "wants re-auction of all 218 coal blocks" declared as illegal allocation but sought its indulgence to "exempt" 40 of them which are functional and ready for the end use power plants.

Giving reasons for lower production, the ministry said less output was due to factors like "pending court cases in matters relating to the captive coal blocks".

The Coal Ministry had earlier said that output from captive coal blocks may reach 53 million tonnes (MT) in the ongoing fiscal.

"Based on the review of the status of producing coal blocks which have not yet attained PRC (peak rated capacity) and the coal blocks which were likely to commence production in 2014-15 as well as the information/assurance given by the coal block allocatees for achieving production during 2014-15," is 52.925 MT, the ministry had earlier said.

Of the total 328 coal blocks identified for allocation for captive purposes, the government has so far allocated 218 and deallocated 80 coal blocks.

Supreme Court which is looking into the issue of coal blocks had earlier said: "There was no fair and transparent procedure, all resulting in unfair distribution of the national wealth."

Emerging story. Watch this space for updates as more details come in
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