Competition watchdog to soon give order on Coal India

New Delhi, Aug 5 (IANS) Competition Commission of India (CCI) will shortly issue orders in the case against Coal India Ltd (CIL), Ashok Chawla, chairman, CCI said Monday.

Chawla indicated this at the meeting of the Eminent Persons Advisory Group (EPAG) here, said a corporate affairs ministry release.

The case against CIL issues from multiple complaints that the state miner and its subsidiaries abused their dominant market position in supplying fuel to power plants.

CCI ordered its latest probe last month on a complaint filed by West Bengal Power Development Corporation against CIL and its three subsidiaries - the Eastern Coalfields, Bharat Coking Coal and Mahanadi Coalfields.

As per the latest complaint, Coal India imposed unfair conditions in the Fuel Supply Agreements ( FSA) for providing coal to thermal power plants.

The country's largest miner accounts for about 82 percent of the coal supply in the country,

Noting that the FSAs terms and conditions were being "heavily loaded in favour of opposite parties", the competuition watchdog had directed its investigation arm -- the Director General -- to investigate the matter.

The Commission had ordered another probe earlier against CIL and its subsidiaries following complaints from different entities including Maharashtra State Power Generation Company (MAHAGENCO).

MAHAGENCO stated that CIL supplied coal in an ad hoc manner, misrepresented the grade and quality of coal and insisted on one-sided supply pacts. The Gujarat State Electricity Corporation (GSEC) alleged that even if it rejected poor quality coal, the state monopoly would regard it as a case of deemed delivery and declare that the customer was liable to pay.

The CCI director general's report said "the conduct of CIL in this regard has been found to be independent of the market forces and it has been able to affect the consumers and market in its favour."

Various power utilities have been refusing to sign FSAs with Coal India on grounds that the terms were unfavourable towards them.

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