The Centre has received a total of 76 bids from 42 companies, including Vedanta Ltd, JSW Steel and Jindal Steel and Power Ltd, for the first commercial coal mine allocation in the country.
Technical bids, consisting of online and offline bid documents, were opened on Wednesday, in the presence of the bidders, as a part of the auction process of 38 coal mines.
The auction process for sale of coal was launched by the Coal Ministry on June 18. The last date of submission of technical bids was on Tuesday, September 29.
The online bids were decrypted and opened electronically in the presence of the bidders. Subsequently, sealed envelopes, containing offline bid documents, were also opened in their presence.
The entire process was displayed on the screen for the bidders, an official statement said.
The bids will be evaluated by a multi-disciplinary Technical Evaluation Committee and Technically Qualified Bidders would be short-listed for participation in the electronic auction to be conducted on thee MSTC portal from October 19.
The government has thrown open coal mining to the private sector, ending years of monopoly enjoyed by state-run Coal India Ltd. Under the new reform initiative, companies would be allowed to mine coal for sale in the market. The government will neither determine coal prices or customers for such mines.