The Coal Ministry has rejected the proposal of the Power Ministry to stop e-auction of coal pleading that the e-route for selling coal needs to be continued to meet the demands of small users.

“Apart from power, steel and cement, there are a lot of sectors where coal is required. Coal India Limited (CIL) is required to meet their needs as well. Hence, it is not possible to stop the e-auction,” Coal Minister, Sriprakash Jaiswal said here. Earlier, the Power Ministry had requested the Coal Ministry to stop e-auctioning of coal to meet the requirement of the sector.

“Small users need is also to be addressed. If stopped, we would not be able to supply coal to them,” he remarked. Power firms currently have 12 days of coal stock, which, given the current state of affairs in the coal sector was not a bad achievement at all.

The Coal Ministry had introduced distribution of dry fuel through e-auction to provide access to coal for such consumers who are not able to source it through the available institutional mechanisms due to seasonality of requirement, limited needs not warranting long-term linkage.

Officials said e-auctioning of coal fetches a good return for the CIL, which sold 47 metric tonnes last fiscal, raking in Rs. 8,800 crore out of its total revenue of around Rs. 50,000 crore. CIL sells around 10 per cent of its production through the e-auction route.

The Minister also said the policy on allocation of small and isolated coal and lignite blocks has been finalised and would be placed in the public domain soon. Mr. Jaiswal said the policy guidelines on disposal of surplus coal were under preparation.

He exuded confidence that the coal distribution policy, which is to be reviewed on June 6, is likely to be finalised in two to three months. He said the high-powered committee under the chairmanship of Secretary Coal, C. Balakrishnan has been monitoring the implementation of Jharia and Raniganj Master Plan involving an investment of around Rs. 10,000 crore.