Coal auction in trouble, two mines go off bidding

Coal auctions ran into legal tangles on Wednesday with the government deferring bids for one mine in Jharkhand where giants like the Hindalco, Vedanta and JSPL were in the fray, while another block was withdrawn from the ongoing third round of bidding.

The government deferred the auction of Chitarpur coal mine in Jharkhand because of a court case, which was scheduled to start on Wednesday.

The other coal block — Parbatpur central coal mine in Jharkhand — has been withdrawn from the process on representation that it contains gas.

In a notice to the bidders of Parbatpur central and Chitarpur coal mine the coal ministry said, “... bidders may kindly note that the Parbatpur central coal mine is withdrawn from the process of auction...”

“Consequent to hearing dated on August 11, in writ petition (C) 7630/2015 (Kolkata Glass and Ceramics Pvt Ltd vs UOI) before the High Court of Delhi, the e-auction of Chitarpur coal mine shall not be held on August 12,” the notice said.

The date of e-auction of Chitarpur coal mine, the notice said, will be intimated later.
“Parbatpur Central mine will not be auctioned as it is a gassy mine and therefore, we have got a representation that it should be withdrawn,” an official said.

Companies like the Hindalco, Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL) and Vedanta were in the fray for Chitarpur coal mine after qualifying technical bidding.
Firms like the JSW Steel, Rashtriya Ispat Nigam, SAIL were in the fray for Parbatpur central coal mine.

Majra mine
The official further said that now there will be auction of only Majra mine in Maharashtra on Thursday.

Companies like the ACC, Crest Steel and Power, Emami Cement, Grace Industries, Jaypee Cement and JK Lakshmi Cement are in the race for Majra mine which has extractable reserves of 14.92 million tonnes.

On the first day of the sale of mines on Tuesday, the government auctioned two blocks in Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra, which fetched it Rs 2,529 crore. Crest Steel and Power, a Topworth Group entity, emerged as the highest bidder for Bhaskarpara mine in Chhattisgarh that fetched the government Rs 1,817 crore.

The group’s arm Topworth Urja & Metals also emerged as the highest bidder for Marki Mangli-I mine in Maharashtra.

Marki Mangli-I mine went for Rs 712 crore.Bhaskarpara mine was earlier jointly alloted to Electrotherm (India) and Grasim Industries.

Those vying for the coal block included JSPL and Godawari Natural Resources.
The government had earlier said it will auction 10 coal mines for steel, cement and captive power plants.

Before this, the government had auctioned 29 coal blocks in two tranches to private companies and garnered over Rs 2 lakh crore.
The Supreme Court in September last year had cancelled allocation of 204 coal mines to companies without auction.

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