The strong pitch by the government before the Supreme Court on Monday against the deallocation of 40 captive coal blocks that have been operational for the last three years, stems from the fact that these mines account for nearly 8 per cent of the country’s total coal output and are crucial to the production needs of power and steel companies in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Orissa.
While some of the blocks are operated by private companies, a sizeable number is run by state-run entities. Out of the total, 30 blocks together produced 40 million tonne (MT) in 2013-14, which is expected to go up to 67 MT in the current fiscal.
The leading private companies whose blocks are operational include Jindal Steel and Power (Gare Palma IV/I) in Chhattisgarh, Hindalco (Talabira-1) in Orissa, Gare Palma IV/4 (Jayaswal Neco ) and Monnet Ispat and Energy, Sunflag Iron and Steel (Belgaon block) in Jharkhand.
Besides 40 functional blocks, six mines that are likely to start production in 2014-15 include state-run NTPC’s Pakri Barwadih mine, Damodar Valley Corporation’s Khagra Joydev block and Jaiprakash Associates’ Mandla North. Out of 218 captive mines allocated so far, 80 have been cancelled and further de-allocations would depend on the apex court.