While the exact value of the bids could not be ascertained, industry estimates suggest these blocks may fetch tens of thousands of crores of rupees in revenue.
The government officials said the response have been as per expectations and most of the major players from private sector are participating in the auction, which was necessitated after cancellation of earlier coal block awards by the Supreme Court.
"176 technical bids have been received for 23 coal blocks  under Schedule II which were put on auction for private sector. The response has been as per our expectation and most of the major players have participated in it," Coal Secretary Anil Swarup told reporters here after the technical bids were opened.
Swarup, however, did not reveal the names of the players who participated.Sources said the bidders include JSPL and GVK Power among others. A spokesperson for Monnet Ispat confirmed that the company has submitted its technical bid.
"Auction process will be web cast to maintain transparency," Swarup said after the technical bids were opened on Tuesday in the presence of bidders.

The Supreme Court had in September 2014 cancelled allotment of 204 mines since 1993 terming the allotment as "arbitrary and illegal".
Coal Minister Piyush Goyal had earlier said that as per conservatives estimates, eastern states which house most pf these mines stand to gain about Rs 7 lakh crore from auction and royalties over the next 30 years.
A maximum number of 16 bids were received for Gare Palma IV/7 block which is in Chhattisgarh and was previously alloted to Sarda Energy & Mineral Ltd.
Twelve bids each were received for Tokisud North block in Jharkhand, Bicharpur mine in Madhya Pradesh and Gare Palma IV/4 in Chhattisgarh. Tokisud North was previously allocated  to GVK Power (Govindwal Sahib) while Bicharpur was earlier given to Madhya Pradesh State Mining Corporation. Gare Palma IV/4 was previously allotted to Jayaswal Neco.
The tender process for the 23 coal mines under schedule II was started on December 27 last year and "bidders submitted their technical bids on MSTC portal created for the purpose," the government said.

"The electronic bids were decrypted and opened electronically in the presence of bidders. Entire process was displayed on the screen for the bidders. Subsequently, sealed envelopes containing bank guarantee, power of attorney and affidavit were also opened in the presence of bidders," an official statement said.

These bids will be evaluated by a multi-disciplinary technical evaluation committee to shortlist bidders for participation in the electronic auction to be conducted on MSTC portal from February 14, it added.

The blocks put on offer include Ardhagram, Belgaon, Bicharpur, Chotia, Gare-Palma-IV/1, Gare-Palma-IV/4, Gare-Palma-IV/5, Gare-Palma-IV/7,Gotitoria (East) & (West), Kathautia, Mandla North, Marki Mangli-I, Marki Mangli-III, Parbatpur Central, Sial Ghoghri, Amelia (North), Gare-Palma-IV/2 & IV/3, Sarisatolli, Talabira-I, Tokisud North and Trans Damodar.

Earlier, the government had extended the last date for submission of technical bids to February 3 from January 31 as the bidders had sought more time.
The government so far has announced it will auction 46 coal blocks to private companies.Under the schedule II (producing mines) category, 23 blocks have been put on offer. The auction would be held between February 14 and February 22 and the vesting orders will be issued by March 23.
Under the Schedule III (ready to produce mines) category, another set of 23 mines will be auctioned between February 25 and March 5. The vesting orders will be issued by April 2. Also, the Coal Ministry last month had started the process for allocation of 36 mines to PSUs. Of the 36 blocks listed by the government, 35 will go to power PSUs while the remaining one has been earmarked for a steel PSU.

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