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Monday, November 9, 2009

Govt threatens action against Usha Martin over coal block

The government has warned steel maker Usha Martin of action if it does not "take immediate steps" to develop a captive coal block in Jharkhand

However, it could not be immediately ascertained whether the action could be a cancellation of the block.

In a showcause notice issued to Usha Martin on November 4 for the delay in developing the Lohari coal block, the Coal Ministry said, "You are advised to remove...Shortcoming and take steps to develop the coal block without any further delay, failing which the ministry could be constrained to take action as deemed appropriate in the matter."

The ministry has issued such notices to companies like ArcelorMittal, Binani Cement, MMTC, JSPL and Nalco.

The ministry said the coal block, allocated to Usha Martin in 2005, is an explored one, wherein mining lease and land acquisition are still pending.

"The company representative informed that the state government wanted mineral rights to be transferred by Central Coalfields (CCL) to the state government. CCL has surrendered the mineral rights, but the conveyance deed has not been finalised," the notice said.

Company officials did not respond to telephone calls and an emailed query at the time of filing the story.

The ministry had earlier said it would issue show-cause notices to 40 firms, threatening de-allocation of coal blocks.

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