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Coal mine auction: Govt rejects bids of Jindal Steel, Balco


New Delhi: The government has rejected the bids of Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL) and Balco, amid speculation of cartelisation during the auction of coal blocks held recently.

The government was re-examining the bids for nine recently auctioned coal blocks, including those where Jindal Steel & Power (JSPL) and Balco emerged top bidders.

“Government takes decision on bids for 9 coal blocks,” Coal Secretary Anil Swarup said in a late night tweet.

“Bids for Gare Palma IV/1, IV/2, IV/3 and Tara coal blocks not accepted,” Swarup tweeted.

Jindal Power had emerged as successful bidder for Gare IV/2, Gare Palma IV/3 and Tara Coal blocks while Bharat Aluminium Company(Balco) had emerged as successful bidder for Gare Palma IV/1 coal block.

However, bids for five blocks have been accepted, Swarup tweeted.

Swarup had earlier insisted that the government wasn’t looking at cartelisation aspect at the moment.

There had been reports that some bidders could have indulged in cartelisation to keep the prices low for the concerned mines.

“In the schedule II, we were looking at four mines and in schedule III we are looking at five mines…Prima facie we found that it requires a re-examination, so it has been re-examined that is about all,” Swarup had earlier said.

The bids of four coal blocks of the schedule II mines (producing) which were being re-examined were Gare Palma IV 2, Gare Palma IV 3, Gare Palma IV-1 and Marki Mangli III.

BS Ispat had bagged Marki Mangli III mine.

The coal blocks which did not figure in the list of successful bidders of schedule III mines(ready to produce) were Brinda and Sasai mine (one bid was invited for both the mines), Meral mine, Dumri mine, Tara mine and Mandla South mine.

While insisting that the government “has not looked at any such thing as cartelisation or anything of such sort”, the secretary had said: “I have used the word ‘outliers’. There is a pattern and if somebody falls outside that pattern that needs a examination.

“Whether it is a cartelisation or not it not something which I can say as of now. We are certainly not examining these aspects. We are examining if there is an outlier the reason for it and then we will take a call”, he had said.

So far, a total of 33 coal blocks have been auctioned in two tranches. While in the first lot 19 coal mines were auctioned, in the second lot 14 coal blocks went under the hammer.

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