The Odisha government has requested the Centre to defer the coal block auction process by three months in view of the unfavourable market condition due to the prevailing Covid-19 pandemic.
Steel and Mines Minister Prafulla Mallik, in a letter, has urged Union Coal Minister Pralhad Joshi to direct the officials for the deferment of the auction.
He said the coal block auction process can kick-start after the favourable market condition and an improvement in the Covid-19 pandemic situation.
Notably, the Centre has decided to auction 41 coal mines for commercial mining including nine from Odisha.
Mallick said that the auction would not be able to fetch the optimum price as the coal prices are at the lowest due Covid-19 pandemic.
He said the price of coal had come down significantly this year as compared to last year.
"If the coal block auction is held in this scenario, the government might not be able to get the better price of the natural mineral resource. The lease period of coal blocks is 30 years and a poor response to the auction will affect the state's coal revenue," he added.
The last date for submission of the bid is September 29.
It was decided that the e-auction would be held from October 19 to November 9, 2020, said sources.