Centre allocated coal blocks, Jharkhand tells SC

New Delhi, Oct 28 (IANS) Jharkhand Monday told the Supreme Court said that coal blocks located in the state are allocated by the central government under a 1973 act and the applications received by it directly are also sent to New Delhi with its recommendations.

Interested parties apply directly to the central government for allocation of coal blocks which are considered by the screening committee and the state government sends its opinion/comments on such applications, the Jharkhand government said in its affidavit filed with court registry Monday.

In addition to the direct applications made to the central government, the state government too receives applications which too are forwarded to the central government with its recommendations, the affidavit said adding that the representative of the state participate in the meeting of the screening committee "whenever invited".

The state government was responding to the four questions posed by the apex court in a hearing Sep 30.

It said that though coal blocks are allocated by the central government but the actual prospecting lease is granted by the state government.

The affidavit said that between the allocation of coal blocks and grant of prospecting lease, the allottee of the coal blocks have to secure clearances including that of the environment and forest ministry if the coal prospecting area involves forest land.

Meanwhile, the Central Bureau of Investigation has approached the apex court seeking its nod to add one more officer in the investigating team probing criminality angle in the allocation of coal blocks.

At present the investing team headed by Indian Police Service officer Ravi Kant has 39 officers. Initially it had 33 officers which was permitted to be increased by to 39 by adding another six officers by court's June 17 order.

The matter will come up for hearing Tuesday.

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