BUSINESS

Centre to auction eight blocks in fourth round

e-auctions are taking place following the Supreme Court decision last year to cancel the allocation of 204 coal mines to companies without an auction.

e-auctions are taking place following the Supreme Court decision last year to cancel the allocation of 204 coal mines to companies without an auction.  

he government will auction eight coal blocks for the unregulated sector, which includes — iron, steel, cement and capacitive power plants — in the fourth round of e-auctions to be held in January, Coal Secretary Anil Swarup said on Thursday.

Mr. Swarup said the notification inviting tender would be issued on November 20, kick starting the auction process and the last date for submission of bids will be December 31, 2015.

“The e-auction for these mines will be held from January 18 to January 22, 2016,” he told reporters.

The coal blocks to be put on auction include Brahmapuri and Suliyari in Madhya Pradesh, Bundu and Gondulpura in Jharkhand, Gondkhari and Khappa & Extn in Maharashtra and Jaganathpur A and Jaganathpur B in West Bengal. These mines together have reserves totalling 1,143.42 million tonnes (MT) and their peak rated capacity is 12.86 MT. The first three rounds of auctions had fetched over Rs.3 lakh crore, which would be realised over 30 years by States where the mines are located. The e-auctions are taking place following the Supreme Court decision last year to cancel the allocation of 204 coal mines to companies without auction.

The Secretary also said that Coal India was “well on way of achieving 550 million tonne coal production target” for the current fiscal and has crossed the 300-MT output mark this week. Consequent to this, the coal-starved power utilities now have “an inventory of about 19 days”.

Coal India, which accounts for over 80 per cent of the domestic coal production, is targeting one billion tonnes of coal production by financial year 2020. Coal imports in India dropped for the third successive month in September by 27 per cent to 12.6 million tonnes as compared to the year-ago period on the back on increased domestic production.

PTI reports

Asked how much the government plans to raise from this fresh round of auction, the Secretary said the same depends on the response from bidders.

Swarup said 34 blocks had been allocated or auctioned under Schedule II (either producing or likely to produce mines), of which one is under litigation and seven of them have recorded over 5-MT output. The rest, he said, are likely to start production “in next two to three months” as all issues including necessary clearances, stamp duty, handing over of assets etc have “fortunately been resolved on the intervention of Prime Minister who himself reviewed the projects“.

Mining leases have been granted in 29 cases and remaining four will also get it soon, he said. The Supreme Court in September last year had cancelled allocation of 204 coal mines to companies without auction.



Coal India is well on its way to achieving the 550 million tonne

coal production target for

the current fiscal

- ANIL SWARUP,COAL SECRETARY



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