Centre to auction 13 coal blocks of Odisha

Bhubaneswar: The Centre today put as many as 67 coal blocks, including 13 in Odisha, on sale under the second tranche of commercial coal mining.

The 13 coal blocks in Odisha are: Machhakata and Mahanadi, Nuagaon Telisahi, Ramchandi Promotion Block, Alaknanda, Bartap, Burapahar, dip extension of Belpahar,  dip side of Chatabar, Kardabahal-Brahmanbil, Kosal West, Phuljhari East and West, Saradhapur North and Tentuloi.

Out of the total 67 mines offered, 37 have been fully explored while the rest have been partially explored. “The coal mines on offer are a mix of mines with small and large reserves, coking and non-coking mines and fully and partially explored mines spread across six states: Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh,” the Coal ministry said in a statement.

Terming this as a step towards ”Aatmanirbhar Bharat,” the Ministry said this is the highest number of mines on offer in a particular tranche of auction after commencement of the auction regime since 2014.

“We are making coal the driver of economic activities in the country. There are huge opportunities that the Indian coal sector is offering. Therefore, I invite investors to come and be a part of vastly untapped coal reserves in the country. Grow your businesses and take India along on the growth course,” Union Coal Minister Pralhad Joshi said while launching the auction process.

“Commercial coal mining will bring in new investments, create huge employment opportunities and boost socio-economic development in coal-bearing states. A market-based coal economy will help the nation become Aatmanirbhar in coal.” he added.

The Coal Minister further said  Government is moving towards adopting a ‘rolling auction’ mechanism for conducting future auctions. Coal is the first mineral resource where Rolling Auction mechanism is being implemented, in which a pool of coal blocks will always remain available for auctions.

“With rolling auctions, we will upload a comprehensive list of mines along with key technical data and bidders can submit their preferences for the mines to be included in the next tranche of auction. This would be a continuous process and would result in expediting the auction setup. Moreover, it will also help bidders in planning better and would further enhance transparency in the system,” he added.

Joshi also said that along with promoting commercial coal mining, the government is also looking at reforming the existing e-auction mechanism of Coal India Limited and considering clubbing different e-auction windows of CIL into one. This will help move towards One Price for One Coal Grade. Selling coal at market-determined prices through one e-auction window would help in simplifying the system and promoting transparency.

“Start of commercial coal mining is the most revolutionary and progressive measure taken in the coal sector of the country. It will bring the leading miners with latest technologies and cost competitiveness in the Indian coal sector. Indian coal sector will witness huge improvements in productivity and modernisation.” NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant said.

Notably, 19 mines were successfully auctioned in the first-ever tranche of commercial coal mining auctions held last year with the premium quoted by the successful bidders ranging from 9.5% to 66.75%. The agreements between the Ministry of Coal and the successful bidders were signed in January this year. States will fetch around Rs 7000 crore revenues from these auctions considering production at peak rated capacity of 51 MTPA.

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