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IMG on coal told to give report at the earliest

September 13, 2012 10:40 IST

The Inter Ministerial Group on coal block allocation has been asked to conclude its work without delay and give its recommendations at the earliest.

A direction is this regard was given on Wednesday after Finance Minister P Chidambaram and Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal met in the presence of the secretaries of the Department of Economic Affairs and Coal Ministry.

Rejecting reports of differences between the two ministries in the media on the basis of letter written by a joint secretary in the finance ministry to coal ministry, a finance ministry statement said the letter was only a routine administrative matter.

The letter had asked the chairman of the IMG that all the documents and facts relating to each case be provided to all the members of IMG without which it will not be in a position to take any view or make any recommendation.

"Letter issued by ministry of finance is only a routine administrative matter which asked the Chairman of IMG that all the documents and facts relating to each case be provided to all the members of IMG without which IMG will not be in a position to take any view or make any recommendation," the finance ministry had said in its response.

It said subsequent to this letter, the coal ministry has provided complete information to all its members.

"Representative of MOF has participated in every meeting of IMG and there is no difference of opinion between the two ministries. The finance and coal ministers met on Wednesday in which the secretaries from both department of economic affairs and the coal ministry were also present. There is clear direction from both the ministers that IMG must conclude its work without delay and give its recommendation's to the government at the earliest," the finance ministry response had said.

The IMG, under the Chairmanship of Zohra Chatterji, additional coal secretary, has been mandated to review the progress of development of 58 coal blocks allocated to both public and private sector companies between 2005 and 2009.

It has been asked to give its recommendations by September 15, including whether allocations to firms can be cancelled.

The IMG had examined the responses to its notices to 29 coal blocks. Indications are that the IMG may not be in a position to give its final recommendations by the deadline of September 15, as it could have at least a couple of more sittings.

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