Competitive bidding, Inter-Ministerial Group progress and coal price pooling on agenda

The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has convened a meeting of the Coal and Power Secretaries on October 5 to discuss the issues related to the two sectors including introduction of competitive bidding for coal blocks, review by the Inter-Ministerial Group (IMG), reforms in the power sector, price pooling formula for coal and signing of fuel supply agreements (FSA) by Coal India Limited (CIL).

Two sectors

Sources in the government said the Principal Secretary to Prime Minister, Pulok Chatterjee, had convened a meeting to have a discussion on the issues confronting the two sectors. Apart from the Power Secretary, Uma Shankar, and Coal Secretary, S. K. Srivastava, CIL Chairman and Managing Director, S. Narsing Rao, has been asked to attend the meeting at the PMO.

Pooling formula

The Central Electricity Authority (CEA) has recently worked out a price pooling formula for blending domestic and imported coal. This formula had faced strong opposition from West Bengal, Jharkhand and Odisha.

The meeting will discuss the issue in view of the likely shortage of coal due to failure of CIL to ramp up domestic production due to various issues.

Auctioning

The PMO is also likely to review the progress of the competitive bidding process to be introduced for auctioning coal blocks in future.

The Coal Ministry had already listed around 54 coal blocks for auctioning under this new medium, and had engaged the services of a consultant. The Coal Secretary is expected to give a feedback on the proceedings of the IMG set up to review the allocation of 58 coal blocks, and the action taken by the Coal Ministry on the recommendation of IMG.

The CIL is likely to brief the PMO on the progress made on the singing of FSAs with various power producers.