Union Minister of Railways and Coal Piyush Goyal in a written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha informed the upper house that under the provisions of the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act, 2015, auction of coal mines is conducted in an electronic platform through a transparent mechanism.
He said that Bidding Process for the regulated sector (power) and non- regulated sectors (Cement, Iron and Steel, Captive Power) has been kept different.
Forward e-auction has been adopted for non-regulated sector and reverse–cum-forward e-auction has been adopted for regulated sector.
The methodology adopted for the bidding is fixed bid system where the bidder quotes in Rs./tonne for coal extracted from the coal mine.
Under the provisions of the said Act, 89 coal mines have so far been successfully allocated.
Of these 89 coal mines, 31 have been allocated through e-auction and 58 have been allotted to Government Companies.
Citing the High Court of Delhi in W.P. (C) No. 1384/ 2015 titled M/s Sharda Energy and Minerals Ltd. Vs. Union of India, among other things, have observed that the methodology adopted by the respondents (Ministry of Coal and Nominated Authority) for conducting the auctions in the manner by first asking for an initial price offer and then conducting an electronic auction of the technically qualified bidders is working well.
Alongside a High Power Expert Committee has been constituted under the Chairmanship of Shri Pratyush Sinha, former Chief Vigilance Commissioner.
The terms of reference of the Committee are as follows:
i. Examine the criteria in the present bid system;
ii. Study the challenges and efficacy of the same;
iii. Examine the difficulties in the fixed bid system;
iiii. Obtain and examine the suggestions of stakeholders on bid criteria;
v. Suggestion for change of bid-criteria for improvement in the bidding system, if any.
vi. Any other relevant suggestion with respect to bidding system.
The minister informed that so far, four meetings of the Committee have been conducted.