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Govt asks WBMDTCL to furnish bank guarantee for coal block

NEW DELHI: The Coal Ministry has askedWest Bengal Mineral Development & Trading Corporation to furnish bank guarantee (BG) with regard to a coal block in West Bengal for delays in production, failing which the mine may be taken back. 

"West Bengal Mineral Development & Trading Corporation Ltd (WBMDTCL) are directed to furnish a bank guarantee (BG) for an amount of Rs 1.3 crore...failing which the block may be deallocated," the Coal Ministry said in a letter to the company. 

Ichhapur coal mine in the the Raniganj coalfields of West Bengal was allocated to the company in 2006 for commercial use. The mine has geological reserves of 335 million tonnes. 

The decision follows the recommendation of an inter-ministerial group (IMG) under the Chairmanship of additional secretary, Coal. 

The IMG noted that "though there are slippages against all milestones, however, taking into account all factors, IMG does not consider it appropriate to recommend deallocation of the coal block at this stage. 

"However, in view of the slippages in achievement of milestones, IMG recommends that the allocatee may be permitted to continue holding the block on submission of BG equivalent to one year royalty for adherence to milestones." 

The IMG has members from ministries including, power, steel, commerce, DIPP and law. It has been given the mandate to review the progress of development of allocated coal blocks and associated end-use projects and recommend action, including deallocation, if required.