Government adds 18 more coal blocks to fuel the power sector
Government has added 18 more new coal blocks exclusively for the power sector in order to revive the this sector which was facing hurdles due to poor supply of coal to thermal plants. These 18 coal blocks are added to the existing 74 reserves, which have been earmarked for e-auction as well as for allotment by March 16, 2015.
With the inclusion, the total strength of blocks which would be offered by the Centre through auction as well as direct allotment route is 92.
Top priority to the power sector: Government has given top priority to the power sector, as 59 out of these 92 blocks will be given out for it. Of these 59 blocks, 25 will be put up for e-auction while the remaining 34 will be allotted directly to Centrally-owned as well as State public sector undertakings.
The PSUs, apart from being given blocks directly, also have the option of participating in the auction exercise, as per the Ordinance promulgated by the NDA Government in October 2014. The PSUs will be identified and given blocks (depending on the criticality of their demand) through the already in place Government dispensation route.
Remaining 33 blocks will be offered to the steel and cement sectors.
Ramp up production of Coal India Ltd (CIL): Government is also planning to ramp up production of Coal India Ltd (CIL) which is the largest supplier of dry fuel in the country. For this government is aiming to increase CIL’s current production capacity of 460 million tons annually, to take it to 1 billion tons by 2019.
To achieve the target, Government is planning to introduce modern coal evacuation as well as handling technologies within the next three to four years, as well as by expediting the environmental clearances to CIL’s nearly 200 projects.