CESC retains Sarisatolli

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  • Published 16.02.15

Calcutta, Feb. 15: After nearly 12 hours of hard-fought bidding, CESC Ltd managed to wrest back control over the Sarisatolli coal mine in Bengal, beating the likes of Adani and GMR.

The flagship of the RP-Sanjiv Goenka group bid the most at Rs 470 a tonne for Sarisatolli, which CESC had been mining for more than a decade before the Supreme Court cancelled the allocation.

The aggressive bidding would be music to the ears of Bengal finance minister Amit Mitra, who would get nearly Rs 164 crore a year for the coal CESC will lift from the mine.

The power generator, which supplies electricity to Calcutta and parts of the adjoining area, used to mine around 3.5 million tonnes a year from Sarisatolli, allocated in 1993.

It was the first mine to be allocated to the private sector under a screening committee route now discredited by the Supreme Court judgment.

Apart from CESC, Adani Power, GMR Chhattisgarh, Sheesham Commercial Pvt Ltd and CESC's own subsidiary Haldia Energy were in the fray.

The result reveals that the reverse auction started at Rs 100 a tonne, which means bidders were ready to forego the entire cost of lifting the coal and instead, willing to pay for it.

According to the coal ordinance, the government of the state where a mine is located will get the money that the bidders will pay.

Earlier in the day, Aditya Birla Group's Hindalco Industries bagged the Kathautia block in Jharkhand, bidding at Rs 2,860 per tonne.

"The Kathautia mine goes to Hindalco at Rs 2,860 (per tonne). This will mean Rs 228 crore per annum in revenues for Jharkhand and Rs 6,800 crore for the life of the mine, which is 30 years," coal secretary Anil Swarup said.

Hindalco pipped Monnet Ispat, Rungta Mines, SS Natural Resources and another Aditya Birla Group company UltraTech Cement for the coal block earmarked for the non-power sector. The mine has total reserves of 29.29 million tonnes and extractable reserves of 26.01 million tonnes. The mine was earlier allotted to Usha Martin.

The third block on offer today was Belagaon in Maharashtra, which was won by Sunflag Iron and Steel at Rs 1,785 a tonne.

The other bidders for the mine, reserved for the non-power sector, include Bharat Aluminium Company, Anil Ambani's Reliance Cement, and Topworth Urja and Metals.


With inputs from Delhi bureau