The coal ministry will take a decision on whether there are any price discrepancies in case of the nine winning bids, including those made by Jindal Steel and Balco
Jasleen Kaur | March 19, 2015 | New Delhi
Nine successful bidders of captive coal blocks will have to wait to take control of the coal mines till the government takes a final call on the bidding price. The government is re-examining nine winning bids out of the 33 coal blocks auctioned so far.
The coal ministry will take a decision by Friday on whether there are any price discrepancies in case of the nine winning bids. These include those made by companies like Jindal Steel and Balco.
Talking to Governance Now, coal secretary Anil Swarup said, “There are nine cases where bids are being re-examined. No one has questioned the process as such. When bids came to us we found that there were certain 'outliers'. There were some bids outside the trend. And we want to understand the reason for that.”
He added that there could be a good reason behind it, but the ministry cannot accept it with closed eyes. “If something is evident on the face of it, that there is an outlier I should examine why it is so.” He further said that if there is a good ground behind the outlier then the ministry will accept the bid. And if it fails to find a good explanation behind it, it will not be accepted. The secretary said the ministry provided a transparent platform for coal blocks auction.
Thus the final decision on allocating mines to winning companies like Hindalco, Jindal Steel and Power, Jaypee Cements and Usha Martin would depend on the re-examination of their bids by the auction nominated authority. Five of these blocks belong to Schedule III (near operational) category, while four are under Schedule II (operational).
The passage of the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Bill, 2014 by April 5 would be imperative to commence the next round of coal blocks auction or else re-promulgation of the Ordinance which has already been promulgated twice on October 20 and December 24 last year.
The government can auction these blocks again, give them back to Coal India or give them to the states. The government is likely to announce its decision on these mines by Friday.
The coal secretary also said that the ministry is not looking at the possibility of cartelisation as of now.
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