Coal Ministry plays safe, keeps CAG in loop
An August 23 note by the Coal Ministry says that apart from taking the coal-rich states on board over guidelines to auction blocks under the Competitive Bidding Rules 2012, “the terms and conditions were also shared with the PMO and CAG”. The ministry has also stated that it is moving towards “fine-tuning” and “tightening” the guidelines after having received the CAG’s concurrence.
The note acknowledges the CAG’s recommendation that “there is a need for strict regulatory and monitoring mechanism to ensure that the benefit of cheaper coal is passed on to the consumer”. Taking a cue from this, the ministry has decided that in case the coal is used for power generation, the generating company will have to participate in the bids for procurement of power by the distribution companies as per the bidding guidelines. “This will ensure that the benefit of coal from the said block is passed on to the consumers,” says the note.
Responding to another CAG recommendation that the government prepare terms for allocating coal blocks to state-run firms like power major NTPC