To restart coal block auction, the government will coax companies to return the de-allocated coal mines, an official has said.
Of the 61 coal blocks, which were de-allocated by the government, only 8-9 blocks have been returned and in a number of cases, the allocatees have filed court cases against these orders. At present, 94 such cases have been registered.
According to a Power Ministry official, the government will persuade the companies to return those blocks so that the government can commence the auction process.
The official added that the blocks which have been given back by the firms are not sufficient for tendering and will not attract bids.
"The auction process is stuck due to non-unavailability of worthwhile coal blocks," the official said, adding that the 8-9 blocks may be retained by Coal India.
So far, the government has de-allocated 80 coal blocks. These mines were taken back after the recommendations made in this regard earlier by the review committee. Later, the inter-ministerial group on coal mines set up to evaluate the development of the captive coal blocks.
An inter-ministerial group (IMG) was formed in 2012 to review the progress of coal blocks allocated to firms for captive use and recommend action, including any de-allocation for failure to develop them.
Of the total 328 coal blocks identified for allocation for captive purposes, the government has so far allocated 218 blocks.