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14 coal blocks awarded to PSUs like NTPC and Neyveli Lignite Corp, 40 marked for cement and steel companies

NEW DELHI: The government has allocated 14 coal blocks to state-run companies, including NTPCBSE 0.07 % and Neyveli Lignite Corp, to cater to 31,800 MW power generation capacity envisaged to be set up at an investment of Rs 1,60,000 crore. 

Allotments in such large numbers have been made for the first time since 2008 when the government planned to allocate coal blocks through auction. The 14 blocks have geological reserves of 8,311 million tonnes, capable of yielding about 159 million tonnes coal production per annum, the coal ministry said. The ministry has allocated blocks to three central government undertakings and state power corporations of 15 states. 

The coal ministry had invited applications for the blocks on December 31, 2012. 

The ministry received 318 applications for the coal blocks, of which 128 applications were found eligible. "Some of the coal blocks, because of their size, had to be given to more than one state. The 
Deocha-Pachami block in West Bengal, having a reserve of 2102 million tonnes, has been given to six different state power public sector undertakings," the ministry said. 

The ministry is expected to soon announce auction guidelines for awarding coal blocks to private companies. The ministry has identified another 40 coal blocks for allocation under for commercial mining to sectors such as steel and cement and private power firms.