The allocation of coal mines are made under the provisions of the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act, 2015 and the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957.
Allocation is made through auction to public and private sector companies and through allotment to public sector companies.
In the 4th tranche of auction, 9 coal mines were put for auction for the Non-regulated Sector - Iron & Steel, Cement and Captive Power Plants. Due to low response, online bids were not opened and the 4th tranche of auction was annulled.
In the 5th tranche, 6 coal mines were put for auction for the specified end use "production of Iron & Steel". As there were less than 3 bidders or technically qualified bidders, the 5th tranche of auction was also annulled.
So far, 31 coal mines have been auctioned under the CM(SP) Act, 2015. Out of the originally auctioned 31 Coal Mines, Coal Mine Development and Production Agreements have been terminated in respect of 6 Coal Mines. So, 25 auctioned coal mines remain.
Transparency in Coal Mines Auctioning
To keep the process transparent, the first ever auction of coal mines were conducted in December, 2014 through e-auction mode on an electronic platform. No physical bids were accepted or considered. Applications were required to be submitted online for allotment of coal mines to Government companies also.
Further, to ensure the fool proof security of the E-platform of MSTC, Security Audit had also been conducted prior to auction of coal mines. It was one of the most transparent auctions where bids were placed on an electronic platform accessible to everyone with an internet connection. In fact, everyone had the option of tracking the progress of the auction on their mobile phones.
The number and names of the companies which had applied were publicly disclosed in open forums where hundreds of bidders were present along with members of the media too. The entire proceedings were videotaped. There were also press releases and names were disclosed on the auction website. Technical and financial parameters for the qualification of bidders were clearly laid down in the tender document.
Grounds for disqualification were also clearly mentioned in the tender document. Specific reasons were given to such bidders. The initial bid price (applicable floor price) and subsequent bids were also visible to the public. The parameters for determining the floor price and subsequent bids were part of the methodology and on public display on the website. Thus, each and every data point was actually available in the public domain.