Next phase of auctioning begins next month with a notification for 16 to 24 coal blocks
GN Bureau | March 24, 2015
Coal mines allotment to central and state public sector undertakings (PSUs) was completed on Tuesday. Coal secretary Anil Swarup tweeted that list of coal block allottees will be made available on MSTC portal.
The coal ministry had received 107 applications from companies like NTPC, SAIL and Neyveli Lignite Corp for allocation of 43 coal blocks. The process started on February 18 and the maximum applications came for Gare Palma sector II coal mine.
The government has already generated over Rs 2 lakh crore by auctioning 33 blocks to private companies. This process was completed after two rounds of e-auctioning. The amount generated so far is much higher than Rs 1.86 lakh crore, the loss estimated by Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India.
The Supreme Court in September last year had cancelled the 204 coal blocks allocated between 1993 and 2011 calling it illegal and arbitrary. After the judgement the NDA government brought an ordinance for amending the Coal Mines (Nationalisation) Act, 1973 in October and December last year, allowing commercial mining by private companies and allocation of mines through e-auctioning.
Both the houses of the Parliament have passed the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Bill, 2014, as the ordinance was to lapse on April 5.
The passage of the bill also allows the government to auction another set of 16-24 coal blocks next month. Swarup was quoted in a media report that the notification for the third tranche of auction should be in third week of April and there is a likelihood of around 16-24 blocks to be put on auction.
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