Coal block de-allocation to begin from Sep 16: Jaiswal
In an exclusive interview with CNN-IBN Editor-in-Chief Rajdeep Sardesai, Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal assures to begin the process of de-allocation of coal blocks against the errant companies from September 16 while strongly defending the government policy.
On cancellation of license to errant companies
In 2010, 26 coal blocks have been de-allocated. All the allocations between 2004-2009 have been reviewed. Then in the budget former Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee had declared the formation of an inter-ministerial group to review all the allocations.
The allocations to those 58 companies, who were issued show cause notice, are under review. The guidelines have been finalised. We have given the deadline of Sept 15 to finish the review of the allocations of these coal blocks and to take action. If it's needed to seize the bank guarantee or to de-allocate or to issue warnings, we have asked to do that.
There is a set procedure. Without knowing the problems of the individual mines whether there is a forest clearance problem or an environment clearance problem or it's a land acquisition problem, it's not easy to de-allocate the coal blocks. Then there are the courts. Without knowing the status the coal blocks can't be de-allocated. Then people will go to courts and take stay orders.
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Image: Union Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal
'No one will be spared'
On not acting on Inter Ministerial Group's recommendation on Jindal Steel, etc
Whether it's a Congress MP or a Congress minister or however big the person may be, but if the allocated mine has not been made operational, that will be de-allocated.
On acting against errant companies
It takes five to seven years to begin production in any coal mine. There is a huge difference in the situation on getting forest and environment clearance today that compared to five years back. There are land acquisition problems and there is a poor law and order problem in all coal mine areas.
Considering all these, we know the difficulties in coal mining. We know how difficult it's for Coal India to continue mining in those areas. So how can you ask about this delay of 5-7yrs?
The review on errant companies is on. In 2010 the review had started and these 58 names had come out during that. It takes not less than a year to review a coal block. You should understand the situation there; it's not an easy job.
The IMG was formed by then finance minister much before the matter came up in Parliament. I want to assure you those who would just be sitting on the allocations, there all allocations will be de-allocated. No one will be spared.
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Image: Workers at a coal mine in Jharkhand
'I've no information about who recommended whom'
On Subodhkant Sahay's 'involvement'
I've no information about who recommended whom. That recommendation does not make any difference for the government. According to my information he had not recommended for that block which has been allocated. He had recommended for some other block, which had been allocated two-three months earlier.
If you are asking about the delay, I want to assure you the deadline is Sept 15. We will start the de-allocation from Sept 16. The CBI inquiry is on and those who have forged documents will face strong action.
On the screening process
The policy which is made for coal block allocation is hundred percent right policy. We had developed the right mechanism to implement that policy. In every government allocation people try to get illegal benefits. If the wrong documents, verified by the state governments, were submitted before the screening committee or the coal ministry, it's not the job of the screening committee to scrutinise every document. The coal ministry can't take the responsibility for the wrong verification by the state governments.
There is no drawback in the government policy or any mistake in implementation of the policy. But if there is any mistake in collection of the information or verification of the documents, the inquiry is on.
On de-allocation of blocks
There is no question of canceling the allocations of coal blocks till the final report of the IMG is out and the CBI inquiry is completed.
The Prime Minister's Office has advised us to speed up the review process. By September 16 you will get the complete list on the de-allocation of the coal blocks, the seizure of bank guarantee and also the warning notices to be sent.
Image: Union minister Subodhkant Sahay