Coal blocks allocation scam and its investigations under process has created anxiety in the states halting further allocations.
Odisha Government has decided to stop allocating coal blocks any further owing to the controversies generated in past. The blocks allocated by the central government during 1993-2012 are still facing litigation and investigations by various agencies including the CBI.
A senior official from the Steel and Mines Department of Odisha said that only one coal block i.e. Talabira-1, was allocated to Hindalco Industries Limited is operating at present. There are still more 29 blocks under process, awaiting permissions to begin with their mining operations. Moreover, other blocks are now the subject of public suits before the Supreme Court alleged for illegal allocations.
Two months back Supreme Court had asked the State Government of Odisha to submit its response on issues related to such allocations. Also interrogations were made by CBI on the past allocated blocks as reported by an official. He also said, the central government had also asked the Odisha government to take some steps further, for the development of coal blocks and its executions according to the law. However, the recent developments in Talabira-2 coal block shows government’s unawareness about any such developments on the pending investigations.
“So far, we have not received any advisory or information concerning investigations into the coal blocks allocated in the state, leaving us unsure of further steps to be taken in pursuance of allocation. Therefore, in view of the pending litigations and investigation by the CBI or other agencies, we consider that proceeding further in respect of such allocations may not be advisable till the settlement of pending litigation or closure of investigation.” the Chief Secretary, J K Mohapatra, wrote in a letter sent to the Secretary of the Ministry of Coal in October, 2013.