Govt To Auction 19 Coal Mines This Quarter, Confirms Coal Secretary

| April 15 , 2018 , 12:47 IST

The Government is exploring certain relaxations for bidders after the cancellation of coal mines auctions twice and plans to put on sale 19 blocks in the current quarter itself, a top official was quoted as saying on Sunday.  Last year, the government had to annul the 5th round of auction due to poor response from bidders.

“Yes, we are wanting to do the next round of coal block auction. This is probably the right time,” coal secretary Susheel Kumar told PTI, adding, “so in this quarter, it (coal block auction) should happen.”

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From the 19 proposed blocks to go on auction, 6 have been identified for the steel sector while the remaining 13 mines are for non-regulated sectors such as cement, sponge iron and captive power.

So as to attract more bidders and make the next round of auctions successful, the coal ministry is also considering providing certain relaxations, subject to adequate transparency and competition.

“We are just looking at what relaxations can be given so that this round of auctions succeed subject to obviously adequate competition and adequate transparency. Those are non-negotiable principles. So subject to that if we can give some relaxations so that there are more bidders. That’s what we are exploring,” Kumar said.

The fifth round of coal blocks auction had been annulled last year in the absence of a good response from bidders since the steel industry was not in a good shape.

The fourth round of coal mine auctions planned for January 2016 were also annulled in December 2015 due to tepid response from bidders in sectors such as steel, apart from depressed commodity prices and adverse market conditions.