The Centre aims to set in motion the restructuring process of Coal India Ltd. (CIL) for which consultants are being engaged, Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal said here on Wednesday.

The Planning Commission has already called for the re-organisation of CIL besides bringing competition into the coal sector to meet rising demand.

Inaugurating the 7th Edition of India Electricity 2013, organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the Ministry of Power, Mr. Jaiswal said the expression of interest had been floated to find suitable consultants for the restructuring.

“For increased transparency in coal block allocation, the provisions of the MMDR Act (Mines and Minerals Development and Regulation Act) have been amended and a fresh set of rules have been framed for allocating new blocks through competitive bidding. Fourteen blocks for power and three for mining are being put on offer under the government dispensation route. A few more blocks for the private sector are also in the pipeline,’’ he said.

“Our efforts to buy coal equity abroad have thus far resulted in acquiring two coal blocks in Mozambique by CIL while private companies have been successful in acquiring assets in countries such as Indonesia, Australia, South Africa and South America. We need to be aggressive in this regard from the long-term energy security point of view,’’ he said. A knowledge paper, ‘Re-energising Indian electricity sector’, prepared by FICCI and ICF was released on the occasion.

B. K. Chaturvedi, Member, Planning Commission, said remunerative gas prices, integration of the Southern region with the national grid and creation of new LNG capacities could help cross major hurdles faced by the electricity sector.

FICCI President Naina Lal Kidwai said, “the Ministry of Coal must explore gradual disinvestment of CIL and hiving off its subsidiaries as independent entities which can compete in an open market. In the long-run, it will be necessary to amend the Coal Mines (Nationalisation) Act, 1973, to allow for private participation in coal mining and production.’’

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