“The government has initiated auction of coal blocks by inviting applications for the first time for allocating coal blocks through competitive bidding for specified end-uses,” the ministry said here in a statement.
It will be the first auction after its earlier practice was criticised by the Comptroller and Auditor General for having caused losses to the exchequer by allocating coal blocks without competitive bidding.
The three blocks up for bidding contain reserves of 499.4 million tonnes of coal. Two of these are located in Jharkhand, while the third is in neighbouring West Bengal, and the coal would be used in steel, cement and sponge iron industries, the statement said.
Last week, the coal ministry deallocated some captive coal blocks allotted to private companies for not adhering to the pre-stated timelines for developing their blocks.
It, however, suspended operationalising the order in cases where appeals against the deallocations were pending in court.