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Coal Ministry replaces five Chhattisgarh mines in commercial auction

Adds three mines from the same state taking the total of mines on offer to 38, from 41 earlier

Topics
Coal ministry | Chhattisgarh | Mine auction

Shreya Jai  |  New Delhi 

coal
The online auction of coal blocks for commercial mining and sale for private companies will commence in October and final winners declared in November. Photo: Shutterstock.com

Following protests from the government, the Union Ministry of Coal has revised the list of mines to be auctioned for commercial mining and now 38 blocks will go under the hammer instead of the 41 mines announced earlier.

The revision in the list includes addition of three blocks — Dolesara, Jarekela, and Jharpalam-Tangarghat (in Chhattisgarh) — and withdrawal of five blocks in an ecologically sensitive zone near the Hasdeo River: Morga South, Fatehpur, Madanpur (North), Morga-II, and Sayang (in Chhattisgarh).

“Accordingly, 38 are offered for auction for commercial mining under 11th tranche of auction under the Coal Mining (Special Provisions) Act, 2015, and the first tranche of auction under the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957,” the Ministry of Coal said in a statement.

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Mine-bearing states like Jharkhand and had protested against the timing of the auction due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Jharkha­nd had also moved court against the Centre’s decision to hold commercial coal auction in the middle of a pandemic. The state had said the bids would be subdued and would hurt its revenue. The had earlier dropped one mine from Maharashtra after the state said it fell in the ‘tiger zone’.

The Centre for Science and Environment had also pointed out in its latest report that “of the 41 blocks put up for auction, 21 feature in the original no-go list.” The report noted since 2015, of the 49 blocks cleared for coal mining, nine were in the no-go areas. No-go refers to unfragmented forest landscapes having a gross forest cover more than 30 per cent and ‘weighted forest cover’ more than 10 per cent.

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The Centre had started the coal — for commercial mining and sale by private companies — in June. The bidding terms were liberalised to attract foreign players, non-mining entities, and large miners. In May, it amended the (Special Provisions) Act, 2015, to simplify the auction process and attract significant investor interest.

The online auction of coal blocks for commercial mining and sale to private companies will commence in October. The final winners will be declared in November.

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First Published: Thu, September 03 2020. 17:42 IST
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