coal mine auction

Auction of 10 coal mines with 31.39-million-ton capacity this week

Ministry of Coal under the Government of India on Monday said that e-auction for coal mines in the country would begin on September 13th (Tuesday).

Since independence, Coal, a very important natural resource with regard to the production of electricity in India, has been under the control of government-led public sector undertakings and companies. The government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been pushing hard to privatise and commercialize resources and infrastructure in order to increase utility and efficiency.

According to a statement released by the Ministry of Coal, the technical evaluations of bids were completed by the ministry. The statement also said that it is moving forward with the e-auction of 10 mines. Out of 10, auctions for eight mines will be conducted on September 13th while two of them will be auctioned on September 14th 2022.

Coal Ministry headed by Shri Prahlad Joshi has so far auctioned more than forty mines across the country. These mines which are already auctioned off to private players have a peak rate capacity of more than 85 million tons per annum.

The ten coal mines which will be kept for e-auction from tomorrow onwards have a total peak rate capacity of 31.39 million tons per annum.

Mega Privatisation Plan

During the peak time of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced highly ambitious mega privatisation plans. Eight sectors including coal production were planned to be privatised in different phases. The privatisation push of the government was reportedly part of its plan to achieve self-reliance.

Nirmala Sitharaman had announced that 50 coal blocks would be offered to private players in the country on an immediate basis. The government also decided to liberalise rules and regulations regarding evacuation and mining in the resource-rich regions of the country.

Several eligibility conditions and time constraints in the process of bidding for mines were waived by the government in order to attract private Investments in the sector.

By the end of 2020, the government auctioned 5 tranches of coal blocks to private players for 7000 crore Indian rupees. The coal minister had at that time said that 19 mines which make up 5 tranches would provide employment opportunities for more than 70000 people across 5 states in India.

Even with a very huge coal reserve which is one of the largest in the world India remains one of the largest importers of coal.

The inefficiency in the exploration and problems with the extraction of the mineral is said to be the main reason why India is one of the largest importers of this mineral in the world.