In order to ensure adequate availability of coal to power utilities, Coal India Limited (CIL) has been impressed upon to enhance production of domestic coal in the country and power utilities have also been advised to enhance import of coal to meet the shortfall in domestic availability of coal. This was stated by Piyush Goyal, Minister of state for Power, Coal & New and Renewable Energy (Independent Charge) in a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha today.
Goyal further stated that during April, 2014 to October, 2014, there has been a growth of 15.4% in coal-based generation over the corresponding period of last year. Coal supply from CIL sources to power utilities in the country has improved. It has been 208.71 MT (Provisional) which is 94% of 223.09 MT, the supply plan target finalized by Ministry of Coal as part of Annual Action Plan for 2014-15 for the period April to October, 2014.
In addition to above, with a view to monitor coal supplies to Power Utility Sector, an Inter-Ministerial Sub-Group comprising representatives of Ministry of Power, Ministry of Coal and Ministry of Railways has been constituted. This Sub-Group takes various operational decisions for meeting any contingent situations relating to Power sector including critical coal stock position, Shri Goyal added.
Shri Goyal also stated that for management and reallocation of cancelled coal blocks, Government has promulgated ‘the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Ordinance, 2014 on 21.10.2014 to ensure smooth transfer of rights, title and interest in the mines along with its land and other associated mining infrastructure to the new allottees to be selected through an auction or allotment to government company, as the case may be. In order to provide sufficient coal to small consumers, medium and small enterprises, cottage industries, household consumers and to overcome the acute shortage of the country and augment its production; the Ordinance has amended the Coal Mines (Nationalization) Act, 1973 to insert section 3(A) and the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 to insert section 11(A) through the Ordinance, thereby removing the restriction of end use from the eligibility to undertake coal mining, in the national interest. The auction of coal block is decided to be carried out in e-auction mode. The decision regarding allotment of coal blocks to public sector companies and allocation by auction to private and public sector companies as well as earmarking of blocks for various eligible sectors is made keeping in view the contemporary requirement of the sector at the time of earmarking.
The Ordinance provides for allocation of coal mines and vesting of the right, title and interest in and over the land and mine infrastructure together with mining leases to successful bidders and allottees by the Nominated Authority with a view to ensure continuity in coal mining operations and production of coal, and for promoting optimum utilization of coal resources consistent with the requirement of the country in national interest.
As per the Ordinance, the proceeds from e-auctioning of coal block is required to be transferred to the respective State Government where the coal block is located after adjustment of preferential payments, if any , Shri Goyal added.