Seeking to give a big push to coal mining and enhance coal production in the country, the Coal Ministry has asked State Governments like Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh to ask the public sector undertakings (PSUs), who have been allocated coal blocks, to signs pacts with Centre for mining of these blocks.

In an advisory issued to various state governments, the Coal Ministry said: “You are requested to advise the allocatee company/corporations to enter into an agreement with the Central Government,’’ the Coal Ministry said in letters to the Chief Secretaries of Odisha, Jharkhand, Bihar, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh.

In separate letters written to Jharkhand, Bihar, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh, the Ministry asked them to advise the companies allocated mines to either form a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) or joint ventures for execution of the coal mining projects. The development follows a Coal Ministry agreeing to allocate three coal blocks to mining PSUs including Jharkhand State Mineral Development Corp and MP State Mining Corporation Ltd.

The three coal blocks are part of 17 mines identified by the Ministry for state-owned companies. It had earlier allocated 14 coal blocks to power sector firms.

A committee headed by the Coal Secretary had agreed to give Brahmani coal block in Odisha to Orissa Minerals Development Company Ltd (OMDC), Gowa coal block in Jharkhand to Jharkhand State Mineral Development Corp (JSMDC) and Bihar State Mineral Development Corp (BMDC), and Kerwa coal block in Chhattisgarh to Chhattisgarh Mineral Development Corp (CMDC) and MP State Mining Corp.

In all, the Ministry had received 41 applications from 17 state-owned companies for the blocks. Kick-starting the process of coal blocks allocation, the government had in June allocated 14 coal mines to Central and State public sector undertakings (PSUs), including four to NTPC. It is also expected to start the process for auctioning of coal blocks for the private sector by end of this year or early next year.

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