The Delhi High Court today sought the Centre’s response on a plea by Reliance Power (RPower) and its subsidiary Sasan Power Ltd against the government’s decision to cancel allocation of a coal block in Madhya Pradesh for the company’s ultra mega power project there.
A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath issued notice to the ministries of Coal, Power and Finance seeking their reply by October 6 on RPower’s plea challenging “deallocation” of Chhatrasal coal block.
Senior advocate P Chidambaram, appearing for RPower, said that the block was deallocated “on an assumption” that as per the Supreme Court orders the government was expected to do so.
He said that the apex court had “specifically excluded” ultra mega power projects (UMPP) while deallocating 214 coal blocks by its orders of August and September last year.
The government had cancelled the Chhatrasal block in view of the Supreme Court’s judgements of August 24, 2014, and September 25, 2014, by which 214 coal block allocations were cancelled.
“Even if they wanted to cancel allocation, they should have issued a show cause notice to us. They should have given us a hearing,” he said.
He also said that its UMPP, comprising six units of 660 megawatts, requires all three coal blocks to run at full potential and now has only two blocks — Moher and Moher-Amlohri extension.
The company said that all six units are functioning currently.
Chidambaram also said that while the company had received approval for a revised plan to mine 20 million tones of coal from its two other blocks, the government has restricted it to 16 million tonnes.
RPower has challenged the Coal Ministry’s May 7 notification by which it had cancelled allocation of Chhatrasal coal block to the company’s Sasan project in Madhya Pradesh as well as restricted the coal it can mine from other two blocks.