Govt says coal blocks to be awarded to bidders with prior clearances

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New Delhi, June 1 (UNI) The government has said coal blocks will be allotted to those developers who have obtained prior clearances under the new policy which will come into effect from 2009-10.

''Besides setting up of Coal Regulatory Authority, the Coal Ministry will put in place a new policy as per which coal blocks will be awarded to their developers with prior necessary clearances from the government itself with effect from 2009-10 to ensure that early coal production commences in such blocks without any delay,'' Minister of State for Coal Santosh Bagrodia said.

The government has so far awarded 182 coal blocs to various bidders in public as well as private sector, of which only 17 developers have gone into coal production.

The reason for this delay in coal production was that the developers could not obtain necessary clearances after being awarded the blocs.

Addressing the Assocham organised Interactive Session on Public Private Partnership in Coal Sector, Mr Bagrodia said the new policy will also encourage private sector coal players to explore overseas coal bloc for production and set up joint venture with the Indian state owned coal companies and other public sector companies.

Currently, the statute prohibits public sector companies to form joint ventures with Indian private sector companies to go overseas to acquire coal blocks for production.

The Minister categorically stated that the country is hardly facing any coal shortages as in May, it offered 15 million tones of coal to the concerned stake holder.

He said, the Coal Ministry would increase this quantity to 20 million tonnes in the future and targets to exceed 732 million tonnes by 2011-12.

Mr Bagrodia further disclosed that a decision to set up a Coal Regulatory Authority has already been taken to impart competition in this sector.

UNI MP SBA CS1148

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