The auction process of commercial coal mining witnessed a "very good start" and the response has been the best in domestic coal history, Coal Minister Pralhad Joshi has said.
The auction process of commercial coal mining witnessed a “very good start” and the response has been the best in domestic coal history, Coal Minister Pralhad Joshi has said. A total of 1,140 entities, including international players, participated in the technical session after the launch of sale of blocks, and 26 companies bought tender documents and 10 firms – domestic and foreign – evinced interest in the visit of mines, he added.
The statement assumes significance in the wake of apprehensions of the Jharkhand government that investors will not come for the auction of commercial coal mining due to coronavirus pandemic.
“We launched commercial coal mining on June 18. Prime Minister has blessed this occasion. And after that there was a technical interaction session. Only interested people come there. 1,140 people joined (the technical session). And out of that (1,140 people) more than 50 to 60 people were international players,” Joshi said.
Within eight days of the launch of the auction process, there were 329 registrations and 26 tender documents were sold for Rs 5 lakh each, the minister said.
Around 10 companies, including the foreign players, have shown interest to visit mines put on sale, he noted. “Within a week’s time this is the best in the coal history of India. I am quite confident that in another coming 20-30 days further there will be improvement in this. According to me this is the best response. It is very good start,” the minister said.
Of the 41 blocks being put for auction for commercial mining, the Centre is withdrawing one mine of Bander in Maharashtra as it falls under eco-sensitive zone. The Centre is also considering the Chhattisgarh government’s request to replace four coal blocks marked for auction for commercial mining.
The Jharkhand government has moved the Supreme Court challenging the Centre’s ambitious project launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on June 18 for virtual auction of coal blocks for commercial mining.
The Jharkhand Mukti Morcha-led government in its plea sought a direction to the Coal Ministry to postpone the proposed commercial auction of mines.
“The negative ‘global investment climate’ prevailing due to COVID-19, which is unlikely to fetch reasonable returns proportionate to the value of the scarce natural resource through the impugned auction for commercial coal mining,” the plea said.
These blocks, spread across Odisha, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh, are expected to provide employment to 2.8 lakh people and contribute Rs 20,000 crore revenue annually to the state governments.