31 firms chosen for 15 coal blocks

31 firms chosen for 15 coal blocks

New Delhi: The Indian government has finally taken a decision on the allotment of 15 coal blocks reserved for the power sector out of the total 38 blocks that were to be decided by the screening committee.

Some 31 companies made the cut, including RPG Group’s CESC Ltd, Essar Power Ltd, AES Chhattisgarh Energy Pvt. Ltd, Reliance Energy Ltd’s Rosa Power Supply Co. Ltd, Adani Power Ltd, Tata Power Ltd, GMR Energy Ltd, Navabharat Power Pvt. Ltd of the Malaxmi Group, as well as La-nco Infratech Ltd. Mittal Steel India Ltd was the only company which was awarded two blocks though it shares both blocks with other companies.

While eight out of 15 blocks have been allotted on a sharing basis, the remaining blocks have been given on a stand-alone basis. “The government has allocated one block to multiple companies as a single company may not be able to utilize the full block in an efficient manner," notes Kuljit Singh, a partner at accounting firm, Ernst & Young.

A senior government official who did not wish to be identified confirmed the development, adding that “the screening committee meeting for the 23 blocks to be given to non-power sectors, such as cement, iron and steel, will be held later."

The government’s screening committee on coal block allotment that met on Thursday had finalized the allocation but has not officially disclosed the list of winning companies. The screening committee was headed by coal secretary H.C. Gupta and had representatives from the ministries of power, steel and environment and forests, as well as from the state governments of Orissa, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal and Maharashtra.

The government was keen to fast-track the allotments since these coal blocks have reserves of around 3.6 billion tonnes, capable of generating 18,000MW of power, as first reported by Mint on 7 July. The ministry had asked the state govenments to do an exhaustive due diligence of companies whose names were forwarded to it for allotment of 38 coal blocks.

These allotments were critical because coal accounts for more than 50% of India’s commercial energy consumption and around 78% of domestic coal production is dedicated to power generation.

India has a power generation capacity of 1,35,006MW and plans to add 78,577MW of power generation capacity by 2012.

“It is a step in the right direction and will lead to quick capacity addition in the country. It will also help in increasing the domestic coal production," said Sanjeev Aggarwal, director, business development at AES (India) Pvt. Ltd, which is among the successful companies.

Some of the other companies in the list include DB Power Ltd, Prakash Industries, Green Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd, RKM Powergen Pvt. Ltd, Visa Power Ltd, Vandana Vidyut Energy Ltd and Jas Infrastructure Capital Pvt. Ltd.