Supreme Court has issued notice to Centre seeking its reply on Coal Block allotment for commercial purposes and directed it to submit its stand within four weeks.

The SC’s decision was welcomed by Chief Minister Hemant Soren.

”I would like to thank the Hon’ble Supreme Court for today’s directives. As reiterated before, Jharkhand government is committed to an inclusive welfare centric development, forests and our forest-dwelling communities; minimising socio-environmental impact”, twitted Soren.

The coal block allotment case is expected to come up for hearing in August.

As it is, the coal block allocation move of the Centre revolves around its attempt to open up of the commercial mining sector. Right now Coal India Ltd, a nodal company of the central government, has a monopoly over it. It holds as many as 447 coal blocks, mostly explored, under its disposal.

In addition,16 blocks were recently allocated to the company. The entire resource of these 463 blocks is close to 170 billion tonnes while total peak production capacity of the recently allotted deposits is 264 million tonnes per annum.

Already coal production by CIL’s subsidiary companies such as CCL, BCCL and NCL was mostly result of private players. The establishment cost on the CIL and its subsidiaries was learnt to be huge.

Even as CIL with support of private players, is increasing internal operational efficiency, synergising efforts with concerned state and central bodies for sorting out issues in stepping up output and supplies is mismatch concern of the company.

Against this backdrop, the Centre plans to allot fresh coal blocks to private players, a move opposed by the Opposition Congress and its allies Jharkhand Mukti Morcha and their trade unions.

These trade unions were up in arms. They continue to oppose opening up of commercial mining. However, CIL Chairman Pramod Agrawal who  is on record parroting the Centre’s stand has said, “there is no need for undue worry.”

He has made it clear that there was no proposals to give away any of the company’s blocks for mining and sale purpose.


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