India mulls new coalfield auction

A worker unloads coal from a goods train at a railway yard in the northern Indian city of Chandigarh India is one of the largest producers of coal in the world

Related Stories

India's government has told the Supreme Court it wants to re-auction those coal mining licences the court declared illegal in a ruling last week.

Between 1993 and 2000 governments issued 218 coal-mining licences to state and private companies.

But the court said they were awarded in an unfair and non-transparent manner, and without competitive bidding.

The government has now told the court it would like to "re-auction" those licences.

India's federal auditors say the state lost $210bn (£134bn) because coalfield rights were sold off cheaply.

Although these sales were declared illegal the court has yet to decide if they will be revoked.

India is one of the largest producers of coal in the world and more than half of its commercial energy needs are met by coal.

Large areas containing coal are divided into blocks, which can then be leased to mining companies.

The Supreme Court is now examining whether the 218 licences given to "coal blocks" illegally should be cancelled.

Mining is going on in some of the coalfields affected by last week's ruling - others are still lying idle.

On Monday, India's Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi told the court that the government wanted to "re-auction" the 218 licences of coal blocks, but it would be "happy if we we save some 40 of them which are functional or operational and ready for end use [thermal energy] plant".

He said there was a need for saving 40 coal blocks as uncertainty over coal supplies would hurt the power plants, when the country is facing acute shortage of electricity.

Correspondents say mining has become a source of massive corruption in India after the country opened up mining to private companies without strong and independent regulation.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More India stories

RSS

Features & Analysis

  • Cerro RicoSatanic mines

    Devil worship in the tunnels of the man-eating mountain


  • Nefertiti MenoeWar of words

    The woman who sparked a row over 'speaking white'


  • Oil pumpPump change

    What would ending the US oil export ban do to petrol prices?


  • Brazilian Scene, Ceara, in 1893Sir Snapshot

    19th Century Brazil seen through the eyes of an Englishman


Elsewhere on the BBC

  • SailingGame on

    BBC Capital discovers why certain sports seem to have a special appeal for those with deep pockets

Programmes

  • Prof Piot, the first person to indentify Ebola virusHARDtalk Watch

    Ebola expert warns travellers could spread the disease further if it is not contained

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.