New Delhi: A week after the government initiated the process for the second tranche of commercial coal mine auction, 11 new mines have been added to the list. Including the 64 coal mines that were put on the first list, the total now stands at 75. The government has sought mine-specific feedback or query from potential investors and other stakeholders and has asked them to indicate their preference for the mines to be considered for auction by 5 pm, February 24. This is the preliminary process before tenders are invited. The coal mines that garner interest from potential bidders will be taken up for auction.
The new list adds six coal mines in Chhattisgarh, two in Odisha, one in Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh each. This is in addition to the 16 mines in Jharkhand, 14 in Odisha, 12 in Chhattisgarh, nine in Madhya Pradesh, six in Maharashtra, five in West Bengal and two in Andhra Pradesh that were put on the first tentative list.
The Ministry of Coal said that the tentative list for the next tranche of commercial coal mine auction has been prepared after excluding coal mines that fall under un-notified Lemru Elephant Reserve of Chhattisgarh, wildlife habitat of Great Indian Bustard, Kinnersani ESZ, Tiger Reserve/Corridor, heavily built up area, mines with over 40 percent of green cover, mines with ongoing exploration activities or having overlap with active CBM blocks and mines that are presently under litigation.
The latest tranche of commercial coal mine auction comes months after the government awarded 19 coal mines to the private sector in November 2020. The Centre amended the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act, 2015, in May 2020 to simplify the auction process and attract investors to the sector. The amendment removed the requirement for miners to use coal only for captive purposes and allowed commercial mining and unrestricted sale of coal by private players. The step is aimed at raising the domestic production of coal in order to cut India's dependence on imports.
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