After de-allocating three coal blocks- Utkal-D, Manadakini-B and Baitarani West allocated to Odisha PSUs, the Coal ministry has sought details of joint venture (JV) arrangements with private players and mode of selection of the JV partners.
The coal ministry in a recent letter to Odisha chief secretary B K Patnaik, sought to know if the state PSU that was allotted coal block entered into an JV arrangement with private companies and whether legal opinion was sought for such an arrangement.
The ministry has also asked for complete details related to selection of the JV partner and complete details of any arrangement/agreement for mine development with any mine developer and operator (MDO). The ministry has sought reply within four weeks.
Three PSUs- Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC), Odisha Hydro Power Corporation (OHPC) and Odisha Power Generation Corporation (OPGC) had won coal blocks. OMC lost two coal blocks- Utkal D and Manadakini-B while OHPC's Baitarani West coal block was de-allocated recently. OPGC has been allocated Manoharpur and dip side of Manoharpur coal blocks.
As directed by the Supreme Court on November 19 this year, the Coal secretary has to file an affidavit in eight weeks in response to a public interest litigation (PIL) filed in the apex court by New Delhi-based Common Cause, a non-profit organization dedicated to seek redress for problems of common people.
Common Cause had urged the Supreme Court to issue an appropriate writ, seeking quashing of entire allocation of coal blocks to private companies made by the Centre from June 2004 to February 2012.
It had also requested the apex court to issue an appropriate direction declaring all the JV agreements made between PSUs holding coal blocks with private companies wherein private players are given right to mine or some other interest or wherein full or partial benefit of the coal block came to a private company, as void.