New Delhi: Taking forward its decision to open up the coal sector for commercial mining, the government will allot 16 blocks to PSUs for carrying out production and sale of the dry fuel.
Of the 16 blocks "earmarked for State Public sector Undertakings for sale of coal", five mines are in Madhya Pradesh, three in Telangana, two blocks each in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Maharashtra, and one each in Odisha and West Bengal, according to an order of Coal Ministry.
Of these blocks, eight have been identified for the host states, the remaining are for other than host state, according to the order.
For the first time in over 40 years, the government is throwing open the coal sector for commercial mining, which is being undertaken by the central PSU Coal India.
The Cabinet earlier gave its approval for allotting coal mines to central and state PSUs for sale of coal, especially to medium, small and cottage industries, under the provisions of the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act, 2015.
In January, Coal Secretary Anil Swarup had said that the coal ministry was working towards creating a platform for commercial mining "in the next 3-4 months".
The blocks that have been earmarked for allocation to PSUs include Shankarpur Bhatgaon II Extn and Madanpur South in Chhattisgarh; Patal East and Mednirai in Jharkhand; Dahegaon/Makard hokra- IV and Kosar Dongergaon in Maharashtra; Baitarni West in Odisha.
Penagaddppa, Anesttipali and Punkula-Chilka in Telangana, Gourangdih ABC in West Bengal, Sahapur East and Sahapur West, Suliyari, Dongri Tal-II and Marki Barka mine in Madhya Pradesh are the other mines.
The decision to open up coal sector is in line with the government's target of doubling coal production to 1.5 billion tonnes by 2020. It has fixed a target of 1 billion tonne of production for Coal India by 2020.
Coal India accounts for over 80 percent of the domestic production and has a target to produce 550 million tonnes of coal this fiscal.
The government has made it clear that the decision for commercial mining will not impact Coal India.