Chhattisgarh slams coal blocks de-allocation

Raipur, Dec 3 (IANS) The Chhattisgarh Mineral Development Corporation (CMDC) Monday questioned the coal ministry's decision to de-allocate its two coal blocks in Surguja district and said it would take the matter to court, if required.

The coal ministry has de-allocated Shankarpur (Bhatgaon-II) and extension coal blocks on issues linked to forests and environment, land acquisition and contradictory reports about project expenditure.

"In an order letter Nov 30, 2012, the coal ministry has de-allocated Shankarpur (Bhatgaon-II) and extension coal blocks and seized 50 percent bank guarantee amount as well, we will produce facts to the Ministry on issues cited as reasons for de-allocation and will take the matter to judiciary, if it is necessary," the state government-owned CMDC said in a statement.

It rejected reports that de-allocation has been made as the CMDC forged a joint venture with a Nagpur-based private firm owned by BJP member of the Rajya Sabha, Ajay Sancheti, who is considered close to party chief Nitin Gadkari.

Meanwhile, the opposition Congress has welcomed the de-allocation and sought a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the matter as it claimed that the BJP government in Chhattisgarh obliged Ajay Sancheti's company, SMS Infrastructure Ltd, to mine the coal blocks.