Govt mulls amending coal mine auction rules
The government plans to amend the rules for auctioning of coal mines through competitive bidding, Coal Minister Piyush Goyal said on Thursday.
Emphasising that there is no shortage of coal, Goyal told the Lok Sabha that stock of the dry fuel has been going up.
Coal India's production has also increased and hope that coal imports would come down further, he said during Question Hour. "Amendment of 'Auction by Competitive Bidding of Coal Mines Rules, 2012' is under consideration of the Government of India," the Minister said. The amendments are being considered for permitting sale of coal since there have been changes in the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act, 2015 and to align with the rules under this Act.
Goyal said the changes to the 'Auction by Competitive Bidding of Coal Mines Rules, 2012' are being considered to accommodate the provisions of the proposed revised standard bidding document for Ultra Mega Power Projects (UMPP) framed by the Power Ministry to "facilitate allotment of coal blocks for UMPPs at an early date". Meanwhile, a discussion paper on the modalities for allocation of coal mines through auction route has been placed in the public domain to seek comments of stakeholders, Parliament was informed on Thursday.
"To prepare the modalities for allocation of coal mines through auction for sale of coal by private companies, a discussion paper containing proposed eligibility conditions and proposed methodology has been prepared in the first instance to consult the stakeholders," Coal Minister Piyush Goyal said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha. The discussion paper, he said, has been placed in the public domain for a specified period to solicit public opinion, comments.
Enabling provisions have been made in the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act, 2015 for allocation of coal mines by way of auction and allotment for the sale of coal, he said.
"The methodology for allotment of coal mines under the provisions of the Coal Miens (Special Provisions) Act, 2015 to Central/State public sector undertakings for sale of coal has been approved by the government," he added.
Commercial mines are allotted without specifying the end use and allow private entities to sell the fuel to buyers across sectors such as power, cement and steel. The government has identified four coal blocks which would be put up for auction in the next fiscal.