Re-auction of coal blocks can be conducted within 24 hours of cancellation if needed, MSTC, the organisation conducting the process, has claimed while dismissing the possibility of cartelisation in some bids.
The government recently raised concerns over suspiciously low bids in certain blocks in the ongoing coal auction. The private players have blamed it on the reserve prices of the blocks.
“We have conducted e-auctions for many states and public sector companies. The process has been designed to avert malpractices normally associated with traditional auctions,” SK Tripathi, CMD of MSTC, told HT.
However, he said, it was up to the government to decide if there had been violation or cartelisation in the ongoing coal auction.
MSTC, formerly known as Metal Scrap Trade Corporation, claims to have transparently conducted e-auction of goods worth over `3 lakh crore — ranging from human hair to coal.
Since 2011, MSTC has held human-hair auctions for the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam shrine in Andhra Pradesh, where devotees get their head tonsured. It has also conducted auctions for timber and sandalwood for Kerala, and iron and chrome ores for West Bengal.
“We haven’t had a single complaint against our e-auction process. In fact we have got more repeat orders,” said Tripathi.