New Delhi, June 21 (IANS) In an effort to increase the country's coal production, seven open cast mines totally having around 25 million tonnes capacity are proposed to be offered to Mine Developer-cum-Operators (MDOs), Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal said Friday.
Besides, some more coal blocks will be offered for mining to the private sector shortly, Jaiswal said addressing a conference on coal organised by industry lobby Assocham here.
"Keeping in mind the aim of increasing coal production, seven open-cast mines of total capacity of about 25 million tonnes are proposed to be offered to Mine Developer-cum-Operators (MDOs) within this year," the coal minister said.
Recently 14 blocks for power and three for mining have been put on offer under the government's dispensation route.
Meanwhile, with a view to improving power generation by ensuring adequate supply of coal to the firms the government Friday approved a mechanism under which power companies can hike electricity price if the cost of imported coal goes up.
"Price of coal in India is far below the international coal prices and the same needs to be rationalised for avoiding wastage and in efficient use of the same," Jaiswal told the conference.
To ensure adequate supply of coal, the government has directed state miner Coal India to sign Fuel Supply Agreements (FSAs) for a total capacity of 78,000 MW.
For increased transparency in coal block allocations, a new set of rules have been framed for allocating new blocks through competitive bidding, the coal minister said.
Jaiswal also said he was confident that the draft bill on a Coal Regulator, forwarded to the Cabinet, would receive its approval very soon.