An inter-ministerial committee will meet on March 7 to deliberate on allocation of 17 coal blocks to public sector undertakings (PSUs). The blocks have estimated reserves of 8.45 billion tonnes.

The panel will deliberate on the feedback received from the State governments after scrutinising the applications from PSUs.

The Coal Ministry has said that the inter-ministerial technical committee, under the chairmanship of Advisor (Technical), will meet to consider inputs received from the Central Mine Planning & Design Institute Limited (CMPDIL) and State governments and administrative Ministries concerned. On the basis of the inputs received from the committee, the Ministry will make recommendations to another panel for a final decision on mines allocation.

The panel, constituted in January, has members of various Ministries, including Power and Steel.

The Coal Ministry has received around 316 applications, including 235 from the power sector and 38 from mining firms, for the allocation of 17 coal blocks to public sector firms. The National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC), the Neyveli Lignite Corporation and MOIL Ltd. are among the companies that have applied for the coal blocks. T

In December last, the Ministry invited proposals from PSUs for the allotment of coal mines, mostly for captive power plants. The government has extended the last date for application from January 30 to February 8.

The Ministry initiated the process of allocation under the amended provisions of the Mines and Mineral Development and Regulation Act. In the first round, the government proposes to allocate blocks for specific-use power and coal-mining.

The blocks on offer include Jilga-Barpali, Baisi, Banai, Bhalmunda, Kente and Kerwa in Chhattisgarh; Gowa, Pachwara South and Kalyanpur-Badalpara in Jharkhand; Mahajanwadi in Maharashtra; and Kundanali-Laburi, Sarapal-Nuapada, Tentuloi, Chandrabila and Brahamani in Odisha.

The Gandbahera-Uhhenia block in Madhya Pradesh and Deocha-Pachami-Dewanganj-Harinsingha in West Bengal are also on offer.