With the Supreme Court announcing that the captive coal block allocations were illegal, India needs to engage with a new set of questions on coal. Right now, our coal industry is a mess. It has spawned oligarchs, hurt local populations and decimated local ecosystems. While doing all this, it simultaneously failed to supply the country with all the coal it needs. This story takes a quick look at some of the larger questions going around — what should be done with the captive blocks? should they be given to coal india? but it is gripped by serious problem. if we liberalise, we need to remember that the country’s past experiences in liberalising energy have not been good.