The government has finalised 23 coal blocks to be auctioned in the third round beginning next week. The Centre expects to earn over Rs 2 lakh crore from the sale of these ready-to-operate mines (schedule III).
“The government is contemplating to initiate the auction process of 23 coal blocks next week,” coal ministry officials said, adding that 12 will be for the power sector and 11 for unregulated sectors such as steel, cement and captive power.
The auction methodology will remain the same as in the earlier tranches. It will be reverse bidding for the power sector mines and forward bidding for the unregulated sectors, officials added.
Coal secretary Anil Swarup had said the auction would begin later this month.
In the first two rounds of the auction of 29 coal blocks, the government had garnered Rs 2.09 lakh crore and the entire money would go to the state governments where the mines are located.
Swarup had earlier said the states would receive Rs 466 crore as the first tranche from the auction of blocks and the Centre would not keep any revenue from this upfront payment by bidders.
“First tranche amount of Rs 466 crore goes to the states by way of upfront payment received from bidders in coal block auctions,” he had said. “No revenue gain for the Centre. The entire amount out of coal block auctions will go to the states”.
Parliament had last month approved Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Bill, 2015 that allows commercial mining and auction of blocks, and follows the Supreme Court’s cancellation of more than 200 blocks allocated between 1993 and 2009.
An ordinance, which enabled the government to re-allocate the 204 mines, is now being replaced by the new bill.
Meanwhile, the country’s coal imports in 2014-15 increased 33 per cent to about 240 million tonnes (mt). “Coal import have gone up 33 per cent to about 240mt in the last fiscal,” mjunction managing director & CEO Viresh Oberoi said.
Imports have gone up because of a fall in the international prices prompting companies, including power producers, to buy imported coal.
Source: The Telegraph