Last week, Sriprakash Jaiswal said files were yet to reach him

The Coal Ministry has not acted upon the recommendations of the Inter-Ministerial Group (IMG) for de-allocating six additional coal blocks and deduct bank guarantee in the case of seven companies. Although the IMG had submitted its final recommendations relating to the treatment of 29 coal blocks allotted to private parties, who were issued show cause notices, the Coal Ministry, under Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal, has failed to initiate further action in pending cases

The Inter-Ministerial Group (IMG) on Thursday recommended de-allocation of two more coal blocks and deduction of bank guarantee (BG) of two more blocks.

Thursday’s action concludes the IMG scrutiny of 29 blocks in the first phase. The blocks deallocated on Thursday are: Bhaskarpara, allotted to Kumarmangalam Birla-promoted Grasim Industries and Mukesh Bhandari-owned Electrotherm, and Dahegaon Markardhokra IV block, given jointly to IST Steel & Power, Gujarat Ambuja Cement and Lafarge India.

The government’s Inter-Ministerial Group (IMG) reviewing progress of coal blocks is understood to have recommended cancelling two more acreages being developed by five companies, according to people close to the development. A final view on the recommendation will be taken by Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal soon.

The two blocks include Bhaskarpara with 24.6 million tonnes (mt) being developed jointly by Electrotherm (India) Ltd and Grasim Industries Ltd and Dahegaon/Makardhokra-IV with 131 mt reserves being developed by IST Steel & Power, Gujarat Ambuja Cement and Lafarge India.

A public interest litigation (PIL) seeking cancellation of lease and environmental clearance granted to Ambuja Cement Ltd for mining in Verval region of Junagadh district has been filed in the Gujarat Hgih court. The PIL also seeks stay on mining activities of the company while the case was pending with the court.

The petitioner Paryavaran Bachav Samiti (PBS) has also alleged that the cement company had indulging in theft of minerals worth over Rs 5 crore from government owned land and sought penal actions against Ambjua Cement Ltd under the India Penal Code (IPC).

Three leading cement companies — Gujarat Ambuja, ACC and Jaypee company — owning mega cement manufacturing plants in Himachal Pradesh on Thursday slashed their prices by half.

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With rising prices spoiling the economic growth party, the government is ready to crack the whip beginning with a ban on cement exports.

Himachal Pradesh would explore the possibilities of creating a Nanobiosys Technology Park in a joint venture, Chief Minister P.K. Dhumal said presiding over the 29th meeting of the state-level Single-window Clearance and Monitoring Committee held here today. The committee gave its clearance to 13 industrial-units involving an investment of Rs 973.82 crore and five expansion/revision proposals with an investment of Rs 692 crore potential for 4,414 persons. The approved units included Steel Authority of India and Ambuja Cements, besides many others. Addressing the meeting, the Chief Minister said the state would welcome investment in the latest technological advancements, which could ensure globally acceptable job guarantees to professionally qualified people of the state. He said the state had congenial environment for pollution-free industrial units and it fitted well for setting up of a Nanobiosys Technology Park. He said the state had already decided to create an IT Park in the state so that the global players were invited to open their outlets in the state.

Making cement is energy-intensive. Energy accounts for a significant portion of the cost of producing cement. Most technological advancement, unsurprisingly, has been directed towards reducing its consumption. Unlike other industries in India, in which technological levels lag behind the best in the world, the cement industry is state of the art.

In a perfect market economy, where all externalities are internalised by the companies and paid for by the consumers, a market leader will also be an environment leader. The ground reality is, however, different. Take the example of Grasim Industries Ltd, which became the biggest cement company in the country after acquiring the cement division of Larsen and Toubro in 2003-04.