October 8th, 2014
“Supreme Court Cancels Most Coal Licenses issued by BJP & Congress led governments in last 20 years.”
The Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered the cancellation of almost all coal mining licenses that have been issued since 1993. The court canceled the licenses for 214 of the 218 coal mines.
Of these, licenses for 172 coal blocks which weren’t in production stand canceled immediately, while licenses for 42 blocks which were producing coal or were close to starting production would stand canceled after six months, the court said.
The six months’ time has been allowed to ensure coal supplies don’t get affected until the government comes out with a fresh policy for auctioning the canceled coal blocks, one of the lawyers in the case, who didn’t wish to be named, said.
Only four of the 218 licenses were spared. The reason why these weren’t canceled wasn’t immediately clear. These include two blocks given to Reliance Power Ltd. for an ultra-mega power project, one block given to NTPC Ltd. and the last one to Steel Authority of India Ltd.
The decision follows a ruling by the court last month that licenses for these 218 coal blocks were illegal as they were issued in an arbitrary and nontransparent manner.
In 2012, the Comptroller & Auditor General (CAG) had said that the government lost as much as 1,86,000 Crore rupees ($31 billion) in potential revenues because it handed out the licenses to companies without using competitive bidding.
Source: The Wall Street Journal