Coal block auction: 134 out of 176 applications shortlisted

New Delhi: As many as 134 applications have been found technically qualified and shortlisted out of the
176 preliminary bids received for the coal blocks on offer in the first tranche, a top Coal Ministry official said today.

 Coal block auction: 134 out of 176 applications shortlisted

Reuters

"Out of the 176 applications we received, 134 are found to be technically valid," Coal Secretary Anil Swarup told reporters here.

He said the Ministry will go ahead with the auction of mines as per schedule though there have some court cases as a consequence of which there have been some changes.

"Consequent to an interim order of Jabalpur (High Court), the auction of two mines has been put on hold in schedule II. These are Gotitoria East and Gotitoria West," Swarup said.

The Ministry, he said, had put both the blocks in the unregulated sector but the Court directed that they be considered for regulated sector.

"This will require a lot of study... so right now these two mines have been put on hold in context of schedule II blocks," he said.

The government has received eight bids for Gotitoria East and Gotitoria West mines in Madhya Pradesh from companies like ACC, BLA Power, BS Ispat, Godawari Power and Ispat, OCL Iron and Steel, Prism Cement, Reliance Cement and Trimula Industries.

The Secretary further said that in case of schedule III mines (ready to produce) there are three mines that have been taken out of auction process consequent to the order of the Delhi High Court.

"We are referring this to a technical committee which will re-examine it in the context and as per the directives of the High Court," Swarup said, adding that in all, five blocks have been impacted by two court orders.

The Supreme Court had in September 2014 cancelled allotment of 204 mines since 1993, terming the allotment as "arbitrary and illegal".

Under the schedule II (producing mines) category, the auction of the coal blocks would be held between 14 February and 22 February 22 and the vesting orders will be issued by 23 March.

Coal Secretary Anil Swarup further said that instead of 36 coal mines the government has decided that it will now allot 45 coal blocks to the PSUs.

"There has been quite a lot of demand for allotment by state-owned entities... so the government has taken a decision to add another nine blocks to this list of blocks to be alloted... and the mines or the blocks for allocation to states goes up from 36 to 45," he said.

"So, we now have 110 blocks in all that are being considered either for auction or allotment," he added.

He further said that in case of allotment of mines to PSUs, the exercise will be completed well before 31 March.

"Within that, there would be some changes in timelines...so we are requesting states that though you may have applied earlier you can take a re-look at your application and re-apply," he said.

The government, Swarup said, has also decided to appoint custodians for such mines -- specially schedule II blocks (producing mines) -- in case now or in future it is unable to complete the auction process by 31 March.

"So in such mines where we are unable to complete...auction process by 31st March we shall have this custodian take over those mines so that production continues awaited," the Secretary said.

Replying to a question, he said, "We are certainly examining the High Court order to see whether we can go and appeal in the Supreme Court. This is being discussed internally... in the interim what we have done is we are referring those blocks to the Technical Committee."

In a relief for Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL) and its promoter Naveen Jindal, the Court today directed a technical committee to review its own decision to change the end-use of two coal blocks earlier alloted to the company and removing the mines from the auction.

He further said that there are 10 cases pertaining to coal mines which are in various courts.

"The first and second case relates to BLA Power and this was in Jabalpur," he said, adding that another case "relates to Jindal Steel and Power. There are three mines in it... we have taken them out of schedule III for the purpose of auction."

Another case relates to GVK Power which also primarily relates to compensation issue, he said, adding that there is also a case "relating to Jayaswal Neco".

PTI

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Updated Date: Feb 12, 2015 16:28:51 IST