"The auction of the explored coal blocks is likely to be undertaken in December or by January 2014," coal secretary SK Srivastava said at a CII conference here.
"A letter of comfort from the ministry of environment & forests would be given to the successful bidder," he added.
He further said a pilot project was being undertaken by the government to draft the modalities of bidding documents for selection of mine developers and operator (MDO) for certain mines of the PSU firm.
Coal India (CIL) has already allocated one block for the pilot, he added.
CIL has signed FSAs with 140 plants: Coal secy
The government said on Friday that Coal India has so far entered into fuel supply pacts with about 140 power plants. So far around 140 fuel supply agreements have been signed," coal secretary SK Srivastava told reporters.