The apex court had then cancelled 204 from 218 captive coal block licences, saying that these had been allocated in an illegal and arbitrary manner.
Coal production from captive mines in the first 10 months of the ongoing fiscal have increased by 21.8% year-on-year (y-o-y) to 46.3 million tonne (MT) from the corresponding period in FY19. However, more than 53% of the output came from coal blocks which were not cancelled by the Supreme Court in its September 2014 order.
The apex court had then cancelled 204 from 218 captive coal block licences, saying that these had been allocated in an illegal and arbitrary manner. After the Supreme Court ruling, 36 coal mines has been auctioned so far.
The Union government in January issued the Mineral Laws Amendment Ordinance, 2020, which removes end-use restrictions in coal blocks to be put up for auctions, essentially ending the practice of captive mining and allowing coal mine developers to sell the fuel to consumers in the open market. The MMDR Act 1957 and the CMSP Act 2015 have also been amended to allocate coal blocks for composite prospecting licence-cum-mining lease to make it more attractive for commercial mining. This has put an end to the long-held monopoly of public-sector behemoth Coal India Ltd (CIL).
Production by CIL declined 3.9% annually to 451.5 MT in the first 10 months of FY20, mainly due to excessive rains hampering mining operations during the monsoons.
Law and order issues in some major mines and several employee union strikes after the Cabinet’s February 2019 decision to ease mining norms for private companies also hampered the world’s largest miner’s production. CIL’s supply to the power sector fell 6.8% annually to 377.9 MT in April-January, FY20.