Bhubaneswar: The union coal secretary, Chaudhuri  said that the Centre has planned to auction 42 coal blocks in one go which is probably the single largest tranche ever put to auction. The last date for bidding has been extended by two weeks, he added.

Choudhry said more blocks would offered under auction in the next phase.

Chaudhuri, while speaking at a stakeholder consultation meet on issues related to coal sector organised by FICCI’s Odisha State Council in collaboration with the union coal ministry, here on Friday, urged the intending bidders to participate in the coal auctioin. The auction process is expected to complete by November.

Stating that the coal ministry is promoting ease-of-doing-business to attract more players into coal sector, Chaudhuri said:”Several measures are being taken to hasten coal projects in the pipeline. Now the sale of 25 per cent of coal is allowed in case of allocation for specified end-use plants. Additional relaxation is also being given in efficiency parameters including clubbing of milestones and provision of a grace period.”

“A single window system is being developed for faster approvals of clearances from various Central and State agencies. It consists of a common application form which will move parallelly as well as subsequently as the case may be and an online dashboard to monitor the movement of application for various approvals,” he added.

Asserting that six year gestation period for making a coal mine operational is not acceptable, the union coal secretary urged coal producers in the country to operationalise their coal mines within two years from the date of allocation.

He said: “The Ministry has taken several policy decisions to ensure the early operationalisation of coal mines, transparency and simplification of operations. We need to pull up our socks and start production in two years to two-and-half years.”

The procedure of State government taking the approval of the Centre for granting mining lease would be done away with soon, the coal secretary assured the stakeholders. It would help speed up operationalisation of coal mines, he added .

Chaudhuri said the chief secretaries of all the coal bearing States have been asked to facilitate project proponent in the acquisition of land, streamline various processes for granting environmental and forest clearances and expedite grant of mining leases.