"Four coal blocks have been identified for allocation to power projects on the basis of competitive bids for tariff and applications for the same were invited on December 20," a statement by the Coal Ministry said on Friday.

The procedure for the allocation of area containing coal through auction by competitive bidding is under the process, it added.

Under the newly-initiated bidding policy, 17 coal mines -- 14 for power and three for mining -- were allocated to state government companies and Central PSUs.

The government has also decided to put on offer five lignite blocks in Gujarat and Rajasthan for power/commercial mining/ underground coal gasification and had invited applications in July.

"The applications received...are under process," the statement said.

Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal had earlier this month said that the much-awaited auction of coal blocks may happen in March.

The Cabinet had earlier approved the methodology for auction, providing for upfront and production-linked payments and benchmarking of coal sale prices.

The policy provides for a production-linked payment on a rupee per tonne basis, plus a basic upfront payment of 10 percent of the coal block's intrinsic value.


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