KOLKATA (miningweekly.com) - Barely a week after starting the process, India’s Coal Ministry has called off the auction of coal blocks.
In a notification the Ministry said, “the sixth and seven tranche of coal block auction stands cancelled”, without stating any reasons.
The Ministry last week initiated the auction process by inviting request for proposals for the appointment of transaction advisers to begin the auction of coal blocks for captive mining.
Mining Weekly Online previously reported that while the Coal Ministry had started the auction process, no timelines were mentioned in the official notifications, possibly because of uncertainties of the impending Indian national elections, the dates of which were then yet to be announced.
On Sunday the Election Commission of India announced seven-phased national elections starting on April 11, and the counting of votes on May 23, with the commission’s Code of Conduct for all political parties kicking in immediately.
The Code of Conduct prevents the incumbent government from taking any policy decision and though not officially stated, it was possible that the Ministry cancelled the auction in view of this.
The Ministry had planned the sixth and seventh round of auction wherein 13 blocks were to be allocated to the steel, cement and aluminium industries with the seventh tranche including six coking coal blocks for exclusive bidding by steel producers.