Coal block auctions for captive use to resume after Diwali | business | Hindustan Times
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Coal block auctions for captive use to resume after Diwali

The fourth round of auctions of coal blocks for captive use are set to take place in November “soon after Diwali.

business Updated: Oct 12, 2015 01:49 IST
Aman Malik
The government has identified large blocks of capacities higher than 20 million tonnes per annum (mtpa), which would be put up for auctions for commercial mining.
The government has identified large blocks of capacities higher than 20 million tonnes per annum (mtpa), which would be put up for auctions for commercial mining.(HT File Photo)

The fourth round of auctions of coal blocks for captive use are set to take place in November “soon after Diwali,” a senior government official has told HT.

The government is in the process of finalising 8-10 blocks for the unregulated non-power sectors including cement, steel and aluminium, although the official was tight-lipped on the total reserves extractable from these mines.

As for the power sector, the coal ministry has asked the power ministry to pick 8-10 blocks out of the available pool that they deem fit to be given to power companies. Once that is done, these would be put under the hammer.

Further still, the official said that the government “has already identified” large blocks of capacities higher than 20 million tonnes per annum (mtpa), which would be put up for auctions for commercial mining, although there is no date yet for this. “We are again looking at anywhere between 5 and 10 blocks, but these would be much larger (than a typical coal mine),” the official cited above said.

In June, the government held consultations with private companies on opening the sector to commercial mining. In March, the government had amended the coal mines act in which an ‘enabling provision’ had been inserted to allow for commercial mining in future.

The government began auctioning coal blocks in February-March this year after the Supreme Court last year cancelled the allotment of 204 such fields that had been given away since 1993 on a first-come-first-served basis. The apex court’s order came after the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) had said in a 2012 report that allotments without auctions had lead to a loss to the exchequer of around Rs 1.86 lakh crore.

So far, out of the over 60 blocks that have been allotted, 34 have been auctioned, while the rest have been given to public sector companies such as NTPC Ltd and Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) via the government dispensation route.

It is estimated that more than Rs 3 lakh crore would accrue to state governments from these auctions and allotments in the next 30 years.