BHUBANESWAR: The Ministry of Coal is gearing up for the launch of eight rounds of auction of 39 coal blocks including 19 from Odisha for commercial mining of coal on November 15, 2023. Of the 19 coal blocks, 11 mines will be offered for auction under Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 while the remaining eight blocks will go under hammer under Coal Mines (Special Provision) Act, 2015.
While the state has so far auctioned 13 coal blocks for commercial sale of fossil fuel, the Meenakshi West coal block of Ib Valley in Sundargarh district was the last one to be auctioned on August 2, 2023. Hindalco Industries bagged the coal mine with a geological reserve of 950 million tonne.
Eight of the 19 coal blocks that will go under hammer are fully explored while 11 blocks are partially explored. In view of the tepid response in the last seven rounds of the auction of coal blocks, the coal ministry has given many relaxations. In this commercial coal mine auction, there will be no restriction on the sale and utilization of coal. Further, the eligibility criteria have been done away with and there are no technical or financial eligibility criteria for participating in the coal mine auctions, the ministry said.
The ministry has also developed a single window clearance portal to facilitate the grant of clearances and approvals to successful bidders. It has also appointed a project monitoring unit (PMU) for land holding of bidders in getting various clearances. Since the amendment of the MMDR Act in 2015, 13 coal blocks have been auctioned and eight coal blocks allocated to end users in the power and aluminum sectors.