new Delhi: The government on Friday said it has approved a proposal to provide a one-time window for public sector undertakings to surrender coal mines that are not in operation without any penalty. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the proposal during its meeting on Friday, the Coal Ministry said in a statement.

The statement said that the CCEA “considered the proposal of the Ministry of Coal to provide a one-time window to the Central and State PSUs to surrender non-operational mines without any penalty (forfeiture of bank guarantee) and without assigning any reason thereof,” the statement said. has approved.” This may leave many coal mines which the existing government companies are not in a position to develop or are indifferent and may be put up for sale as per the current auction policy of the government. Government companies will be given three months to surrender the coal mines from the date of publication of the approved surrender policy.

In order to avoid immediate disruption in the supply of coal to thermal power plants, following the cancellation of coal block allocation by the Supreme Court in 2014, the government allotted several canceled coal mines to PSUs through the allocation route. The allocation route was fast and it was expected that the coal requirement of the state’s Gencos would be met from those blocks. The revenue share payable by the State/Central PSUs is decided on a per tonne basis unlike the private sector which has to bid.

In terms of allocation of coal blocks at that time, the time-limit conditions for operation of coal blocks were very strict and strict, leaving no stone unturned for the successful allottee or the designated authority. Penalties for delays in putting coal mines into operation have resulted in controversies and court cases. Till December last year, out of 73 coal mines allotted to government companies, 45 remained non-operational and in case of 19 coal mines, the due date for commencement of mining operations has already expired.

The delays were due to reasons beyond the control of the PSUs. resistance of landholders against land acquisition due to law and order issues; Geological wonder in terms of availability of coal resources among others. The coal sector is the key to energy security for the country. “In the approval, good quality coal blocks that were allocated early can be quickly recycled after removing technical difficulties and adjusting limits and the recently launched commercial Under the auction policy of coal mines can be offered to interested parties. Speedy operation of coal blocks will generate employment, boost investment, contribute to the economic development of backward regions in the country, reduce litigation and ease of doing business, thereby reducing coal imports in the country.