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    Default Govt to kickstart coal block auction: Jaiswal

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    Following furore over an initial CAG report that estimated huge losses to the exchequer in the allotment of mines, the government has said it is ready with the list of coal blocks to be bid and the auction process will kickstart by June.

    "The work of identification of 54 coal blocks is complete ...The bidding process would begin in the first half of this year," Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal said.

    The government is also ready with the list of the blocks to be alloted to Central PSUs like NTPC and state undertakings by it, he said.

    "Barring 12 blocks out of 54, all others would be auctioned to firms for end-use projects," Jaiswal said.

    The initial report of Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) estimated that the government incurred Rs 10.67 lakh crore by allocating 155 coal blocks without auction between 2004-2009 to private and public sector companies .

    Jaiswal, however, had dismissed the report on allocation of coal blocks without auction as "illogical" and "baseless" arguing that when the blocks were given to the private and public sector companies for their captive usage, there was not much demand for coal.

    Coal India's subsidiary CMPDI has been assigned the task of hiring a consultant for coming out with a methodology of fixing the reserve price of blocks, finalising bid documents and assisting in the bidding process.



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