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Fate of Coal Bill to Decide Auction of More Mines

Published: 20th March 2015 06:06 AM  |   Last Updated: 20th March 2015 06:06 AM   |  A+A-

NEW DELHI:  The government will auction 15-20 more coal mines before May, if the Coal Mines Bill is passed in the Rajya Sabha or a new ordinance is promulgated, said Anil Swarup, Coal Secretary.

He added that even if the Bill is not passed, the ongoing auction process will not be impacted but future auctions may be held back.

The government has already identified 15-20 coal blocks, which can be put on auction. So far, 33 coal blocks have been auctioned in two tranches - 19 in the first lot and 14 in the second round.

Anil Swarup.jpgThe Coal Ordinance, which was re-promulgated in December would lapse on April 5. A Parliamentary panel had on Wednesday recommended ‘no modification’ in the existing legislation for auction of coal mines though its report contained dissident notes from five members including three from Congress on not protecting tribal rights and other issues. The panel recommended passage of the Bill without any change.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Coal had received requests from various coal/lignite bearing states for transfer of additional levy of Rs  6,149.6 crore collected by the Centre from the owners of operational blocks cancelled by the Supreme Court, said Piyush Goyal, Union Minister for Coal & Power in a written reply to Lok Sabha.

He also said owners of operational coal blocks that were cancelled by the apex court, will have to shell out nearly Rs 10,500 crore as additional levy.

The coal extracted after September 2014 till March 2015 end is required to be deposited by the prior allottee with the Central government on or before June 30, he added.

In September 2014, the Supreme Court cancelled 204 out of 218 blocks that were allocated through the Screening Committee and through government dispensation route since 1993 as illegal and arbitrary. The cancellation of 42 blocks (37 producing and five likely to come under production) in the 204 cancelled mines will take effect by end of this month.

The court has also imposed an additional levy of Rs 295 per tonne on the total coal extracted since the commencement of the production from the coal mine to be deposited with the government.

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