The Government has short-listed around 54 coal blocks that would be put up on offer through the competitive bidding route.
The Government had recently short-listed credit rating agency Crisil as consultants for putting in place a policy for competitive bidding after it came under attack for offering coal blocks in a non-transparent and biased manner, leading to windfall profits for private players. A draft report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) had pointed an accusing finger at the Coal Ministry for allowing private players to make huge profits at the cost of the exchequer.
Officials in the Coal Ministry said that out of 54 coal mines, a maximum of 16 had been earmarked for the power sector, 12 for the steel sector, 12 for government firms, seven for the cement sector, five for sponge iron and two for surface gasification.
“The coal blocks earmarked for power sector are meant both for tariff-based bidding and central government companies engaged in production of power. Further earmarking would be done in consultation with the Ministry of Power and Central Mine Planning and Design Institute (CMPDIL),'' according to a document of the Ministry.
The reserves meant for government companies would be allocated for commercial mining. Applications will be invited for allotment of blocks after finalising the detailed terms and conditions. “Applications for the blocks reserved for integrated steel for government companies shall be separately circulated after finalisation of terms and conditions. The remaining blocks meant for allocation through competitive bidding would be advertised once the bidding documents are ready,'' it said.