BHUBANESWAR: The auction of two coal blocks of Odisha, Utkal B-1 and B-2 on April 1 will generate revenue (projected) of around Rs 1,100 crore for the State government, provided the peak rated coal production of 8 million tonne per annum is achieved.
The two fully explored coal blocks located in Chhendipada tehsil of Angul district have a geological reserve of coal of over 347 million tonne. Jindal Steel and Power Limited (JSPL) won the two blocks by giving a final offer of 15.25 per cent over the reserve price of 4 pc. The estimated capital investment on the two blocks is Rs 1,200 crore which will create employment opportunities for nearly 11,000 people.
The Ministry of Coal had launched the notice inviting tender (NIT) for the auction of coal mines for commercial mining under the 14th tranche of CM(SP) Act, 2015, and 4th tranche of MMDR Act, 1957 on December 16, 2021. During the e-auction conducted on the MSTC platform on March 31 and April 1, 2022, five CMSP coal mines were put up for auction including the two of Odisha.
In the 13th tranche of CM(SP) Act, 2015, and 3rd tranche of MMDR Act, 1957 auction of 10 coal blocks in February 2022, four blocks of the Odisha were successfully sold. The JSPL was the winner of Utkal-C coal block in Angul district. Yazdani Steel and Power was the winner of the Bankhuni block, Mahanadi Mines and Mineral got Bijahan block and Hindalco was the successful bidder of the Meenakshi coal mine.
During the Congress-led UPA government, JSPL was allocated the Utkal B-1 for end-use of its steel and power plant in Angul district. However, the same was de-allocated after the Supreme Court order cancelling 214 coal blocks in one go.
JSPL had moved to the Delhi High Court against the cancellation. The Delhi High Court quashed the end-use norms of the Centre for coal mines previously allotted to Steelmakers after the company complained that the government had arbitrarily changed the rules through a notification after the coal ordinance was issued in 2014.
The two coal blocks were Schedule-III mines which were nearly operational when the allocation was cancelled. All the coal blocks cancelled went for auction after the amendment of MMDR Act, 1957 in 2015.