Hope to auction coal blocks by year-end: Jaiswal

Hope to auction coal blocks by year-end: Jaiswal New Delhi: Coal Minister Sripraksh Jaiswal said Friday the process of auctioning coal blocks could start before the end of the year.

"We are taking every step (for coal block auction) after great deliberation. The blocks for allocation have been identified. The allocations can only begin after finalising the bidding process that is being prepared by CRISIL," Jaiswal told media persons here.

CRISIL, which provides ratings, research, and risk and policy advisory services, is preparing the methodology to determine the reserve price of blocks the coal ministry has identified for auction.

As consultant, it is finalising the bid document and would assist in the bidding process.

"The bidding document requires to be finalised in consultation with the concerned states. Only after we have the bidding document can the auction process to allocate begin," the minister said at a news conference.

Pointing to the necessity of the states' concurrence to the bidding document, Jaiswal pointed that it is the states which had opposed bidding for blocks proposed by the government on grounds of losing revenue, higher costs of coal and that it would affect their industrialization.

"In fact, the UPA government proposed to give the whole revenue from the bidding to the states and then they agreed to the bidding process," said Jaiswal.

Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, who was present at news conference, said government procedures take time, particularly in cases involving a federal system.

"The (states) opposed a change in policy on coal block allocations. The matter is now under examination. Every government post-Independence has faced this problem and it cannot be resolved in a day."

About allegations of irregularities in coal blocks allocation, he said, the CBI has been asked to inquire into the utilisation of coal blocks allocated to private companies between 2006 and 2009.

IANS