8 mines can be considered for power sector: CoalMin panel

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A Coal Ministry panel has recommended that eight regionally explored mines in states like Jharkhand, West Bengal and Odisha could be considered for allocation to power producers.

The suggestion comes at a time when power plants across the country are facing acute fuel shortages.

"The Technical Committee (under the Coal Ministry) recommended that 8 regionally explored blocks...Could be considered for allocation to power sector by MoC (Ministry of Coal) in view of the size and quantum of reserves contained in these blocks," according a recent Coal Ministry document.

The coal blocks includes Pokharia Paharpur mine and Gosai -Pahari-Siulibani mines in Jharkhand), Kuraloi (A) North mine and Saradhpur (N) Sector-1 mines in Odisha, and Kapsdanga- Bharkata block in West Bengal, it said.

Sources said the matter had came up for discussion last week when Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a meeting with Coal and Power Minister Piyush Goyal and Coal Secretary S K Srivatava.

The government had in July last year allocated 14 coal mines to power public sector undertakings (PSUs), including four to NTPC.

The coal ministry had said that the blocks, having a geological reserve of 8,311 million tonnes will lead to an investment of more than Rs 1.6 lakh crore in the power sector.

Other PSUs which were allocated mines include Neyveli Uttar Pradesh Power Ltd, Odisha Thermal Power Corp, Jammu & Kashmir State Power Dev Corp, Chhattisgarh State Power Gen Co Ltd, Andhra Pradesh Generation Co, Maharashtra State Power Generation Co, Rajasthan Vidyut Utpadan Nigam and Punjab State Power Corp Ltd.

Moreover, the government had also said in December that it has identified four coal blocks to be allocated to power producers on tariff-based bidding and has invited applications for it.

"Four coal blocks have been identified for allocation to power projects on the basis of competitive bids for tariff and applications for the same were invited on December 20, 2013," the coal ministry had said in a statement.

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