Govt Cancels Auction of Three Coal Blocks: Goyal

New Delhi

The auction of three coal blocks has been cancelled as issues related to certain clearances need to be "revisited", the government said today.

"With the approval of competent authority it has been decided to cancel. Auction as issues concerning prior clearances etc. Need to be revisited," Coal and Power Minister Piyush Goyal said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.

The erstwhile UPA government had in February issued notice inviting applications, offering three coal blocks for mining to companies engaged in production of steel, cement and sponge iron.

"A notice inviting applications (NIA) offering three coal blocks (for steel, sponge iron and cement) was issued ... And two bids were received by Central Mine Planning & Design Institute Ltd up to the bid due date (June, 25, 2014) for Andal Babuisol coal block for Sponge Iron," Goyal said.

Of three blocks, which have total reserves of 500 million tonnes, two are in Jharkhand and one is in West Bengal.

Jhirki and Jhirki (West) mine having reserves of 267.91 million tonnes in East Bokaro coalfield, Jharkhand was offered for steel industry.

Andal Babuisol block having reserves of 103.841 million tonnes in Raniganj coalfield, West Bengal was for Sponge iron industry, while Tokisud-II block having reserves of 127.692 million tonnes in South Karanpura coalfield of Jharkhand was for cement sector.

The former UPA government had drawn flak for delaying auction.

CAG had earlier said allotment of 57 mines to private firms without auction had resulted in a notional loss of Rs 1.8 lakh crore to the exchequer.

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