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15 more coal mines to start production by March 31: Swarup

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

As many as 15 more coal mines that were auctioned last year would begin production by March 31, taking the number of total producing mines to 23, government said today.

The move comes against the backdrop of the government mobilising over Rs 3 lakh crore in three tranches of coal auctions last year.

"Fifteen more mines that we had auctioned last year will start coal production by March 31," Coal Secretary Anil Swarup told PTI.

Swarup said eight of the mines have already come in production.

The government had last year auctioned 31 coal mines in three tranches and made an allotment of 42 coal blocks to central or state government companies.

However, the government had to annul the process for the fourth round of coal block auctions, scheduled for this month on account of poor response from bidders in sectors like steel as well as depressed commodity prices and adverse market conditions.

Now, the government plans to initiate fourth round of auction as and when market condition improves.

The Supreme Court in September last year had cancelled allocation of 204 coal mines to companies without auction.

The government had decided to auction nine blocks for sectors like iron and steel, cement and captive power plants in the fourth round.

Meanwhile, the Coal Ministry is scheduled to review the status of auctioned and alloted coal blocks to companies like SAIL, Adani Power, Hindalco, NTPC and JSW Steel this month amid the government eyeing an ambitious one billion tonnes of production by 2020.

"There has been coal production growth mainly on account of three factors - land acquisition, environment clearance and rake availability," Swarup said.

In total, 32 blocks located in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha and Telangana would be reviewed, it said.

Some of the blocks, which would be reviewed are NTPC's Talaipalli, Chatti Bariatu, Chatti Bariatu (South), Dulanga and Kerandari mines, SAIL's Sitanala mine, Adani Power's Jitpur mine, GMR Chhattisgarh Energy Ltd's Ganeshpur mine, Hindalco Industries Dumri mine and JSW Steel's Moitra mine, among others.

First Published: Mon, January 18 2016. 16:57 IST