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Coal ministry to allot five mines to power utilities soon

Coal ministry to allot five mines to power utilities soon

The coal ministry has identified five coal mines for allocation to state-owned power utilities in an effort to smoothen power supply to consumers, a senior ministry official told ET.

The blocks, which have a total geological reserve of around 1,400 million tonne, are in Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh.

"We received the minister's approval two-three days back. Now, we will put up the coal mines for allotment in around two weeks. State utilities can then apply for those," the official said.

He said the allotment of these mines in not restricted to states that have signed for Ujjwal Discom Assurance Yojana or Uday, a power distribution revival scheme launched by the Centre.

The allotment of coal blocks holds importance as power and coal minister Piyush Goyal has time and again talked about the government's commitment to provide 24x7 power across India by 2019.

"The idea is to provide round the clock power to consumers at a cheaper rate. We are also in the process of rationalising coal linkages to utilities, so that the cost of power comes down," another top official in the ministry said.

Earlier, the government had given out seven coal mines to states that had signed up for Uday. But the states have so far failed to develop those mines.

In the coal block auctions held last year, the government had allotted 40 coal mines to state or central government companies. Private sector companies were given 31 coal blocks though e-auctions in three phases.

The fourth phase of the auctions, however, failed to take off following dwindling interest of bidders.

Source: The economic times

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