New Delhi: Taking ahead its decision to open up the coal sector for commercial mining, government will this month invite proposals from public sector undertakings for allotment of 16 mines.
"This month we would be inviting companies (PSUs) for allotment of 16 mines," a source said.
The government had said last month that it would allot 16 blocks to PSUs for carrying out production and sale of the dry fuel. It also recently recently that it will ensure that coal demand of states, PSUs and small players is fully met before opening the sector for commercial mining by private companies.
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, eight have been identified for the host states.
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 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.
A few days back Coal and Power Minister Piyush Goyal had said that in the first stage, the coal blocks under commercial mining will be given to states and PSUs "then gradually (the government would) go down to the next level".
"Today I want to make sure that all requirements of the states are fully met first and the small people so that it may not happen that the private miners come and the price of coal gets disturbed," the Minister had said.