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Coal auction: Eight blocks to go under hammer from January 18

The government Thursday kick-started the process for the fourth round of e-auctioning of eight coal blocks, which is slated for January 18-22 next year.

The last three rounds of auction have generated proceeds of more than Rs. 3 lakh crore, which would be realised over 30 years by states where the mines are located.

“It has been decided to auction eight Schedule III coal mines earmarked for non-regulated sectors like, iron and steel, cement and captive power plants in the fourth tranche. The e-auction for these mines will be held from January 18 to January 22, 2016,” Coal Secretary Anil Swarup said addressing the media.

Directions have been issued to Joint Secretary, Coal, Vivek Bhardwaj, who is the nominated authority to conduct the auction, and the notice inviting tenders will be issued tomorrow, Swarup said.

“Commencement of sale of tender document will start from December 31 while the vesting order by the nominated authority to successful bidders will be issued by March 10,” the Secretary said.

The coal blocks to be put under the hammer include Brahmapuri and Suliyari in Madhya Pradesh, Bundu and Gondulpura in Jharkhand, Gondkhari and Khappa & Extn in Maharashtra and Jaganathpur A and Jaganathpur B in West Bengal.

These mines together have reserves totaling 1,143.42 million tonnes (MT) and their peak rated capacity stands at 12.86 MT.

Asked how much the government plans to raise from this fresh round of auction, the Secretary said the same depends on the response from bidders.

Swarup said 34 blocks had been allocated or auctioned under Schedule II (either producing or likely to produce mines), of which one is under litigation and seven of them have recorded over 5-MT output.

The rest, he said, are likely to start production “in next two to three months” as all issues including necessary clearances, stamp duty, handing over of assets etc have “fortunately been resolved on the intervention of Prime Minister who himself reviewed the projects”.

Mining leases have been granted in 29 cases and remaining four will also get it soon, he said.

The Supreme Court in September last year had cancelled allocation of 204 coal mines to companies without auction.

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