After a day-long hearing on the consequences of its earlier decision, the Supreme Court reserved its verdict in the coal block allocation case
The Supreme Court on Tuesday reserved its order in the coal block allocation case. However, it has not announced a date for when it will declare its judgement in the case.
The bench headed by Chief Justice RM Lodha reserved the verdict after a day-long hearing on the consequences of its earlier decision, holding that the process of the allocation of these coal mines by the steering committee and under government dispensation was arbitrary and illegal.
Earlier, the union government told the Court that it favoured auction of all the 218 blocks, but if the Court so considered, then 40 coal blocks, which are already in production for years and six other coal blocks in which production can commence any time, may be exempted.
Yesterday, the government left it to the Supreme Court to decide the fate of 218 coal block allocations held as illegal by it while stating that about 40 blocks are operational and another six are ready to produce 50 million tonnes coal in the current year.
"In sum and substance, cancellation of coal block allocation is a natural consequence," the government had told the apex court.
The government though reiterated its stand that licences of 46 coal blocks which are in operation or to start operations soon should be retained.
The Centre in its arguments also said that the 40 blocks, which are operational be either allowed to operate till auctions conclude or the court could give these blocks to Coal India till the conclusion of the auction, according to media reports.
Meanwhile, companies, who were allocated coal blocks, also pleaded with the SC not to cancel allocations without hearing them.
The Supreme Court had on 25th August declared that the entire allocation of coal blocks from 1993 till 2010 was illegal, arbitrary, non-transparent and without application of mind and guidelines.
Development Commissioners have recommended to the Board of Approval (BoA) to cancel these SEZ projects as no work has been done by these companies
The Indian government is likely to cancel the approvals granted to nine companies including Hindalco Industries, Essar and Adani for setting up of special economic zones (SEZs) as no work has been done to execute the projects.
The Development Commissioners have recommended to the Board of Approval (BoA) to cancel these SEZ projects. The formal approval had been granted to these projects by BoA.
“However, since there is no significant progress made by the developer/ co—developer, the concerned DC has proposed for cancellation of formal approval granted to the developer,” the agenda of the BoA meeting said. The meeting is scheduled for 18th September.
Hindalco Industries has proposed to set up an aluminium product SEZ in Orissa.
The formal approval to the developer was granted in July 2007. The developer was granted extension from time to time and the last extension granted has expired on 31 December 2013, according to BoA.
“The developer did not make any request for extension. DC FSEZ had taken up the matter with the developer, the last reminder was sent on 13 August 2014 giving 10 days time.
“Since no communication has been received, DC has recommended for cancellation of formal approval of 115 hectare and in—principle approval for 740 hectare,” it said.
Essar Jamnagar SEZ Ltd had proposed to set up a multi— product zone in Gujarat. The formal approval was expired in August 2009.
The developer did not make any request for extension, it said, adding that the DC had taken up the matter with the developer but no communication has been received.
Similarly, Adani Townships & Real Estate Company Ltd had proposed an IT/ITeS zone in Gujarat.
“The formal approval expired on 11 June 2010. The developer ...has reported that they could not proceed with the SEZ project due to adverse demand scenario from IT sector.
“Accordingly they are not interested in perusing the project. DC has recommended that the formal approval may be withdrawn,” it added.
The other developers whose SEZs may be cancelled include Chennai Business Park, Integrated Warehousing Kandla Project Development and Gujarat Industrial Development Corp (GIDC).
As per the SEZ Rules, formal approval is valid for a period of three years by which time at least one unit has to commence production and the zone becomes operational from the date of commencement of such production.
Provision to this rule provides for extension of this formal approval by BoA, for which the developer will submit his application to the concerned DC, who shall, within 15 days forward it to the Board with his recommendations.