Amid persisting issues over fuel supplies for power projects, the Coal Ministry has set up an inter-ministerial panel to look into applications from government companies for allocation of coal blocks.
The constitution of the new panel comes against the backdrop of prolonged tussle, primarily between Coal and Power Ministries, over the issue of inadequate fuel supplies from state-run CIL despite interventions at the highest levels.
The 14-member committee under the Chairmanship of Coal Secretary will have representatives from Power, Steel, Law & Justice and Planning Commission, among others, the Coal Ministry said in an official memorandum.
"An Inter-Ministerial Committee under the Chairmanship of Secretary (Coal)... Is constituted with the approval of competent authority," the Ministry said.
The panel shall co-opt the representatives of the concerned state governments where the coal block and the end-use plant would be located, it added.
"The Inter-Minsiterial Committee shall consider the applications received from the government companies for allocation of coal blocks on the basis of pre-determined criteria and make recommendations after making comparative evaluation of the applications received," it said.
The panel shall also approve the proforma for inviting applications and recommend eligibility criteria and parameters for evaluation of the applications in terms of weightages decided prior to inviting the applications by the government, the Ministry said.
The Coal Ministry has identified 54 mines for allocation. Of these, 16 are earmarked for government firms, 16 for power sector and 22 for allocation through auction route.
Of the 54 coal mines identified to be allocated, only 12 have been explored so far, the Ministry said.
The Ministry also refused to give a timeframe for conducting auction of these blocks.