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Coal Ministry to put 18 additional blocks for sale in 1st phase: Secy

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New Delhi: The Coal Ministry will auction or allot 18 more coal blocks in addition to already announced 74 mines for sale in the first lot to meet the growing demand for the fossil fuel.

“We have now finalised (to allot and auction) 18 more blocks which have an additional capacity of about 120 million tonnes (MT),” Coal Secretary Anil Swarup told PTI.

“These (coal blocks) will be primarily for power sector because when we analysed the number of coal blocks to be put up for auction we discovered that sufficient number of coal blocks were not available for power sector.

“Hence we scouted for more blocks which are better in terms of readiness. Those 18 blocks have been added to the list,” he said.

Out of the 92 coal blocks to be alloted and auctioned in the first lot, 57 mines would be given to the power sector, while the remaining mines would be for the sectors like steel and cement, the Secretary said.

Of the 57 blocks to be allotted and auctioned for the power sector, 23 will be considered for allotment to states and the rest will be put for auction, he said.

The government had last month announced auctioning of 74 blocks in the first phase, including 42 blocks which are already into production and 32 which are ready for production.

The sale process of the first lot of coal blocks, whose allotments were cancelled by the Supreme Court, will start on February 11 and mines will be allotted only to specified end-users.

The apex court had termed the allocation of 204 mines since 1993 as “arbitrary and illegal”.

The government had already made it clear that the number of mines a company can bid will be capped to avoid monopoly.

The e-auction of coal blocks will have a two-stage tender process of technical and financial bids.

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