The Jharkhand government has sought Rs 25,000 crore as 'preliminary' amount from Coal India Ltd for excavating coal in the state without paying any compensation to it, a move that could hit the company hard.
"Coal India has acquired land for mining in the state through Coal Bearing Areas Act. It pays compensation to individuals for private land, but for government land it has not paid any compensation, which as per the basis of preliminary assessment runs into thousands of crores of rupees, which we have demanded," Chief Secretary Jharkhand, RS Sharma told PTI.
Revenue and Land Reforms Secretary JB Tubid said: "The report is being finalised on the basis of assessments from district collectors and preliminary assessment indicates Rs 25,000 crore."
Tubid said the notices have recently been served on various Coal India subsidiaries including Central Coalfields Ltd and Bharat Coking Coal Ltd. Sharma said CIL can't take the land "free of cost" and it is accountable for the compensation as it is state's property.
Coal India Chairman S Narsing Rao did not respond to the repeated calls on the issue. Jharkhand officials said they were still to receive a response from the Centre on the issue.
The move could lead to erosion of the cash reserves of the world's largest miner which recently announced record interim dividend of 290 per cent. It will pay a dividend of Rs 29 per share, amounting to Rs 18,317 crore, for 2013-14.
For government, it would be a combined bonanza of Rs 19,598.76 crore. This includes an interim dividend of Rs 16,485.71 crore for its 90 per cent stake in the Maharatna company and Rs 3,113 crore through dividend distribution tax.
CIL is sitting on a cash reserve of Rs 62,236 crore. Coal India, accounts for over 80 per cent of domestic dry-fuel. It produced 452 million tonne coal last fiscal.