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'Auction of coal blocks to definitely take place this fiscal'

Last Updated: Monday, November 11, 2013 - 20:39

New Delhi: The government on Monday said the auction of coal blocks to private companies will definitely take place during the ongoing financial year.

"There are a lot of issues which have to be resolved and definitely we would like to do it (auction of coal blocks) in this financial year," Coal Secretary S K Srivastava told reporters on the sidelines of a conference organised by FICCI.

Asked about the number of coal blocks to be put up for the auction, he said: "We are working on it. We will come out with a substantial number of blocks."

He also added that since the government will have to fix floor price, it would only be allotting explored blocks.

Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal had earlier said that the auction of mines would begin in December.

The government, which was initially planning to auction six mines in the first tranche, is targeting to auction 10 blocks now, an official had earlier said.

The Coal Ministry has asked CMPDIL, the mine planning and consultancy company of Coal India, to assess the reserves of four more mines and submit its report by next year, the official added.

The Cabinet had earlier approved the methodology for auctioning coal blocks, providing for upfront and production -linked payments and benchmarking of coal sale prices.

Coal blocks will be put up for auction after the Environment Ministry reviews them and bidders agree to a minimum work programme, an official statement said recently.

The policy provides for a production-linked payment on a rupee per tonne basis, plus a basic upfront payment of 10 percent of the coal block's intrinsic value.

The government had earlier stated that the exploration activities in identified blocks are at an advanced stage and are likely to be completed soon.

It had allocated 17 coal mines to central and state public sector units. The blocks were allocated for both power and mining sector.

First Published: Monday, November 11, 2013 - 20:39
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