The government has moved to buttress its case for exempting 46 captive coal blocks, where production is already underway or expected to start soon, from possible deallocation by the Supreme Court when the latter holds the next hearing in this case on Tuesday.
Sources said the coal ministry has sought a status report on 46 coal blocks from companies including JSPL, Hindalco, Jayaswal Neco, SAIL and NTPC by Wednesday for furnishing the current status of the mines to the apex court.
Attorney general Mukul Rohatgi suggested the court could ask the companies operating the 40 functional blocks to compensate the government for the CAG-estimated loss to the exchequer of R295/tonne.
It was also suggested by Rohatgi that the companies could be told to enter into fresh power purchase agreements with utilities so that consumers, not generators, benefit from cheaper electricity generated from captive coal.
"I am directed to say that this ministry is required to file an affidavit before the Supreme Court confirming details of coal blocks which have come under production along with status of linked EUPs (End Use Plants)," the coal ministry wrote on Monday to allocatees of 40 blocks which have become operational.
In another letter, it sought similar information from six companies including NTPC, Jaiprakash Associates and Prism Cement regarding their blocks which are expected to begin production in the current fiscal.
The ministry further said "information supplied will form part of the affidavit to be filed by the government before the Supreme Court and therefore furnishing any misleading or false information may invite penal action as per law".
The details sought by the ministry include date of allotment of mines, date of grant of mining lease, coal production in the last fiscal, coal production since commencement of mining, details of linked end use plant and investment in the coal block.
The ministry has asked for details of Jindal Steel and Power's Gare Palma IV/2&3 coal blocks, Jindal Power's Gare Palma IV/I mine, ayaswal Neco's Gare Palma IV/4 coal block, Hindalco Industries' Talabira-I coal block, Sasan Power's Moher & Moher Amlori Extension and SAIL's Tasra mine, among others.