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Commercial coal mining auctions may not take place soon: Govt

Commercial coal mining auctions may not take place soon: Govt

New Delhi: Auctions for commercial coal mining may not take place soon as the country is entering the election mode, said a senior government official. The statement comes amid resistance from the trade unions operating in the coal sector against commercial coal mining.

"With the nation almost entering the election mode, I think it will be difficult to hear anything soon. Maybe, after a couple of months, we will be able to make bigger progress in this area (commercial coal mining auction)," said Ashish Upadhyaya, joint secretary, coal ministry. He was speaking during a conference on the coal sector organised by Assocham here.

"When the policy (on commercialisation) came....labours and workforce, who are important stakeholders in this industry, had apprehensions; fear that the conditions of pre-nationalisation will come back. So, it was necessary for the government to allay those fears... Had a constant interaction, dialogue and convinced them that ultimately, privatisation will be in favour of everyone," he said. "Gradually, that consensus building has taken place and soon, maybe, we will have some decision on it but now timing is also an important factor," he said.

Last year, the Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC)-affiliated Indian National Mine Workers Federation (INMF) threatened to observe a strike at Coal India Ltd (CIL) to protest against commercial mining by private companies.

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