The Prime Minister's Energy Coordination Committee (ECC) has rapped the ministries of coal and power on their knuckles for dragging their feet over its decisions and set an October-end deadline for the two ministries to draw up a blueprint to allocate coal blocks to the power sector out of a total of 81 blocks.
The two ministries have been asked to categorise the coal blocks in two lists – one for the central government and state-level power projects and another for private power projects.
At a meeting held on September 14, the ECC directed the Coal Ministry to speedily allocate the blocks to central and state government units.
According to sources in the Coal Ministry, fresh applications are being sought to hand over coal blocks where detailed exploration has been completed.
The ministry has also communicated its intent to give preference to power and steel projects in the allocation of coal reserves.
Within the power sector, preference will be given to projects with more than 500 megawatts (mw) capacity.
Similarly, for the steel sector, priority will be given to steel plants with a capacity of more than one million tonnes.
However, there are still 41 blocks where detailed exploration is yet to be undertaken. ECC has directed the coal ministry to immediately open them up for captive mining.
As a follow-up to the ECC directive, the Coal Ministry has started compiling the list of blocks for private sector power projects that will be forwarded to the Power Ministry, which in consultation with the concerned state governments will soon invite tariff-based bids for setting up power projects linked with these coal blocks.
The coal ministry will subsequently allot the relevant blocks for captive mining by private players.