Ranchi, Feb. 21: As many as 15 MoUs signed with private companies during 2006 and 2008, pledging investments to the tune of Rs 80,000 crore to set up power plants, have been cancelled as the Arjun Munda government feels the companies were merely sitting on their proposals with an eye on the state’s mineral resources.
All the 15 agreements were signed during the tenure of former chief minister Madhu Koda, who is now in jail fighting corruption charges. Of these, 10 MoUs to set up power plants were inked secretively between December 21 and December 29, 2006, quite unlike the well-publicised, high-profile signing ceremonies Munda held during his earlier stint as chief minister.
Jharkhand witnessed a spate of MoUs in 2006-07 after an advertisement was published by the Union coal ministry which had put 38 coal blocks on offer for captive coal mining by companies engaged in power generation and production of iron, steel and cement.
Five of these coal blocks were in Jharkhand and these were later allotted to some of those investors.
According to sources in the government, Munda okayed a recommendation from the state energy department not to extend the MoUs with non-serious players yesterday. These companies included the likes of Reliance Energy and Aditya Birla Company Ltd
“Although the file is yet to come back to us, we are expecting tough action on the part of the chief minister,” said V.K. Mishra, deputy secretary in the state energy department.
The chief minister’s decision follows a recommendation to cancel the MoUs by a high-powered committee on the power sector chaired by energy secretary V.K. Singh.
Industry secretary A.P. Singh, who was one of the members of the committee, said that a couple of companies whose MoUs were cancelled were allotted resources like coal block and water.
“As the companies were allotted coal blocks after signing an MoU with the state government, the government may always approach the Centre for its cancellation as there has been no progress in the projects concerned. The state shall not allow frivolous companies to sit over resources,” Singh asserted.
Munda has also made it clear time and again that he would write to the Centre for cancellation of coal blocks allotted to a couple of companies on grounds of captive use in the state.