The coal ministry on Wednesday clarified that post-cancellation of 204 blocks in the year 2014, the mines are being put on auction via a "transparent" mechanism.
The clarification comes a day after Congress alleged that the Narendra Modi government reversed the long-standing policy of competitive auction for coal block allocation and gave away lucrative fields to the Adani Group.
"Ministry of Coal has clarified that after cancellation of 204 coal mines in 2014, coal mines are being auctioned through a transparent mechanism and for various end uses – power and non-regulated sectors," the ministry said in a release.
The coal ministry further said that no correlation has been established between Cavill Mining Pvt Ltd and Adani Group.
"Also, as per the provisions of the tender document, the affiliate shall mean, a person who, directly or indirectly controls such bidder; is Controlled by such Bidder; is Controlled by the same person, who directly or indirectly, controls such Bidder; or is an associate company of such Bidder," it said.
In this case, it cannot be established that Cavill Mining Pvt Ltd is an affiliate of Adani Group.
"Furthermore, in case a misrepresentation has been found at any stage of the auction process, the Ministry of Coal has a right to take appropriate actions as per clause 5.12 of the tender document," the coal ministry said.
Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said that the group has been allotted coal blocks even when it has been the sole bidder or when a related party has acted as a second bidder. This, he claimed, is in violation of the spirit of the Supreme Court orders on coal block auctions.
The opposition party also demanded the constitution of a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) to unravel the truth.
The coal ministry said that "the auction of coal blocks to the private and public sector is conducted as per CMSP and MMDR Acts on a transparent, open and accessible process."
The Centre has followed the spirit of the Supreme Court order on coal auctions.
The coal sector was freed from distortions, vested interests and sectoral allocations and brought everyone to a level playing field for efficient, fair and fast allocation of coal blocks to achieve Atmanirbharata in coal production in the country.
Since the first auction of commercial mining in 2020, a total of 91 coal mines have been successfully auctioned during a short period of three years in seven tranches under the commercial coal mining.
Out of these 91 coal mines, nine coal mines have received all the permissions and five coal mines have started production.
Coal production from commercial mines was 7.2 million tonnes (MT) in the last financial year.