Amidst delays in mine allocations in the wake of controversies shrouding the sector, Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal on Friday announced the government would allocate 14 coal blocks to state-run firms within a week.
The development follows the government’s repeated announcements to make policy for mines allotment transparent, following CAG terming potential losses of Rs. 1.86 lakh crore to the exchequer on account of block allotment to 57 private firms without auction.
Mr. Jaiswal also expressed the hope that allocation of coal mines through the competitive bidding route will also not take much time.
“As far as allocation of coal mines through bidding process is concerned, it will also not take much time”, the Minister added.
Mr. Jaiswal clarified that the 14 coal blocks would be allocated to power PSUs.
Initiating the process of allocation of coal mines, the government had last year invited proposals from PSUs for allotting 17 blocks to them, mostly for captive power plants.
Of these 17 blocks, 14 would be for power companies while three to mining firms.
The blocks on offer are Jilga-Barpali, Baisi, Banai, Bhalmunda, Kente and Kerwa in Chhattisgarh; Gowa, Pachwara South and Kalyanpur-Badalpara in Jharkhand; Mahajanwadi in Maharashtra; Kundanali-Laburi, Sarapal-Nuapara, Tentuloi, Chandrabila and Brahamani in Odisha; Gandbahera-Uhhenia block in Madhya Pradesh; and Deocha-Pachami-Dewanganj-Harinsingha in West Bengal.
These blocks on offer have estimated reserves of 8.45 billion tonnes. Under Rule 4 of auction by competitive bidding of Coal Mines Rules 2012, the government has decided allocation of suitable coal blocks to the government companies that are authorised to undertake coal mining, according to an official statement.