Coal secretary Anil Swarup on Tuesday said that the government was working on the framework to award coal mines for commercial mining to state government and private entities. Though he refused to give out any timeline for awarding such coal blocks, he said that a start has been made in this direction and further consultation with all stakeholders would follow soon.
“We are working towards enabling states to do commercial mining so as to fulfill the requirement of small-scale sectors, as Coal India can supply fuel to only large entities,” Swarup said. He added that the government was not necessarily looking to test waters with states and can also award blocks to private entities depending on how the auction criteria evolved.
Swarup said that while it was true that auction would raise the cost of coal, it was the responsibility of of the bidders to arrive at a sustainable bid strategy and not bid irresponsibly, as was witnessed in some cases in the last two rounds of auctions.