Coal Ministry to facilitate green nod for 18 blocks after March

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on December 04, 2014

An e-platform will also be set up for industry stakeholders

The 18 coal blocks, which have been added to the 74 being offered in the first round of auction/allocation, are awaiting environmental clearance.

“The mining plan of the 18 blocks has already been approved. They have the potential to produce 100 million tonnes (mt) a year. But the environment clearance is not there yet,” said a senior Coal Ministry official.

“While there is little time to provide the environment clearance before the auction/allocation takes place, we will facilitate the new owners after the process is over,” the official added.

The first phase of the auction will begin on February 11, 2015, and be completed by March 15, 2015.

The 18 blocks were added after considering the needs of the power sector.

In the first round, 92 blocks will be auctioned or allocated, of these, 59 have been set aside for the power sector.

Of these 59, on auction will be 25, and the rest will be allocated to Central and State public sector companies.

Combined, the 92 blocks being offered in the first round will have a production capacity of around 310 mt a year.

The official added the mechanism to ensure power tariffs don’t increase despite the auctions has been decided, but declined to elaborate further as the modalities on pricing of the blocks is expected to be taken up by Cabinet next week. Meanwhile, the Coal Ministry is also setting up an e-platform, similar to the one created by the Project Monitoring Group, for coal industry stakeholders.

“The portal should be up in 15 days. We will see the issues on the portal and follow it up with the Ministry of Environment and Forests and go to the State Governments when required,” the official said.

Action plan

On the plan to achieve the target of one billion tonnes of coal production by Coal India, the official said an action plan has been prepared wherein new rail linkages have been identified for each individual mine.

“Coal India has already completed the work on the action plan to achieve 925 mt and the rest should be done soon. The work will start showing perhaps in the next fiscal,” said the official.

For the current year, Coal India is on track to meet its production target of 507 mt and the company has seen a 16 per cent improvement in November production, the official added.

Published on December 04, 2014

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