Govt to auction 11 coal blocks in fourth round

New Delhi: The government is planning to auction up to 11 coal blocks in the fourth round of bidding which is likely to start in a fortnight.

“In another 15 days (the fourth phase of coal mines auction may start),” Coal Secretary Anil Swarup said on the sidelines of a conference in New Delhi on Friday.

“About eight to 11 coal blocks would be auctioned. We have to take a call. There are issues in a few (blocks),” he said.

The proposal for allowing fertiliser makers to bid for the coal blocks is being considered. “That is under consideration. Discussions are on. I can’t say what will happen,” Swarup said.

Coal and Power minister Piyush Goyal had earlier said the process and formalities of the fourth round of auctions are at the last stage.

The government is planning to auction blocks to the unregulated non-power sectors, including cement, steel and aluminium, as per sources.

The first three rounds as well as allotment of mines had fetched states over Rs 3 lakh crore.

In the third phase of auction held in August, the government had to be content with proceeds of just Rs 4,364 crore as legal and other issues forced it to put only three out of the proposed 10 mines on the block.

The Supreme Court in September last year had cancelled allocation of 204 coal mines to companies without auction.