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Decision on commercial coal mining likely this month: Official (Lead)

Kolkata, Nov 8 (IANS) The proposal for commercial coal mining is expected to be cleared by the Union cabinet this month and the auction of coal blocks is likely to commence by the end of this fiscal, an official said on Wednesday.

“The decision will be taken this month by the cabinet. Thereafter, of course, the process will begin,” Coal Secretary Susheel Kumar said when asked about auction of coal blocks for commercial mining.

“It is likely to take time. I hope it should happen in this financial year,” he said on the sidelines of the 7th Asian Mining Congress organised by the Mining Geological and Metallurgical Institute of India here.

As for the mines likely to be put up for auction for commercial mining, he said: “Let the cabinet decide and we will come out with the names (of the mines).”

To prepare the modalities for allocation of coal mines through auction for sale of coal by private companies, a discussion paper containing proposed eligibility conditions and methodology has been prepared so as to consult stakeholders.

The discussion paper has been placed in the public domain for comments.

The enabling provisions have been made in the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act, 2015, for allocation of coal mines through auction and sale of coal.

On current coal supplies situation to power plants, he said: “Look at how much supplies have increased. The problem is with insufficient stocking. Central Electricity Authority has a guideline which says they should have stock for 22 days. But power plants had not done that.”

“I hope they have learnt the lessons and they will stock in future,” he added.

Refuting that coal shortage could lead to higher imports, Kumar said: “There is no coal shortage. I do not see imports going up.”

He said the fuel supplies to non-power sector have been also improving and by December this year, it is expected to improve further.

Post Source: Ians feed

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