The Supreme Court has quashed 214 out of 218 coal block allocations made to various companies since 1993. These coal blocks, it is claimed, involved an investment of Re. 2 lakh crores. A bench, headed by Chief Justice R M Lodha, passed the order, which saved only four blocks – given to NTPC, SAIL and Ultra Mega Power Projects.
The order gave 6 months to the companies to shut their operations. The bench also directed the companies, which were allocated coal blocks but had not operationalized them, to pay a compensation for the loss to the exchequer. It accepted the CAG findings, which put the loss at Rs 295 per tonne for non-operation of the mines.
During the hearing, the then UPA government had opposed the cancellation saying that around Rs 2 lakh crore had been invested by the companies after allotment. In August this year, the court had declared all coal block allocations since 1993 illegal and arbitrary.