Govt to hand over bid-cancelled blocks to Coal India
23 March 2015
The government has allotted the three cancelled coal blocks, for which JSPL and Balco had emerged the highest bidders in the recently concluded auctions, to state-owned near-monopoly Coal India Ltd (CIL).
"Three coal blocks - Gare Palma IV/1, IV 2 and IV 3 - under Schedule II mines (blocks under production) have been allotted to Coal India Ltd. JSPL and Balco had been successful bidders for these blocks," Business Today quoted a highly placed source as saying.
The development comes even as Jindal Steel & Power Ltd today moved the Delhi High Court against the decision of the centre to cancel the coal blocks saying that the company apprehended the blocks might be allocated to someone else as the government is "moving very fast".
The source said the government decided promptly to allot the blocks to Coal India as the Supreme Court had allowed companies to continue mining till 31 March in blocks where coal production had already started.
Total reserves of the three mines amount to 313.68 million tonnes.
The government had cancelled four blocks, including Tara which falls under Schedule III (ready for production) category, on 20 March saying the bids were undervalued and it will take a final call on these soon after deliberations.
The four coal blocks whose bids were rejected include Gare IV/2, Gare Palma IV/3 and Tara coal blocks in Chhattisgarh in which JSPL had emerged as the highest bidder and Gare Palma IV/1 mine for which Bharat Aluminium Company (Balco) had emerged as highest bidder.
Government re-examined the bids for nine coal blocks in the recently held auction amid reports that some bidders could have indulged in cartelisation to keep the prices low for these mines.
"Bids for Gare Palma IV/1, IV/2, IV/3 and Tara coal blocks not accepted," coal secretary Anil Swarup had earlier tweeted.
However, bids for five other blocks, which were accepted, include Marki Mangli III mine, (with B S Ispat as the successful bidder), Mandla South mine (Jaypee Cement), Usha Martin Brinda and Sasai mines (Usha Martin), Dumri mine, (Hindalco Industries) and Meral mine (Trimula Industries).
Through auctioning just 33 blocks, the government has garnered over Rs2,00,000 crore, surpassing the Rs1,86,000 crore loss estimated earlier by the Comptroller & Auditor General of India for having given away mines to companies without bidding. The Supreme Court had cancelled the allotted mines leading to the auctions. (See: Experts fume as 4 coal block bids rejected for being too low)