Goyal also said the board cannot take such decisions without consultations with the government. Coal India is a listed company with an independent board of directors though the government has 89 per cent stake in the company.
Coal India, country’s largest coal producer, sells around 10 per cent of its production through e-auction, which usually non-power industries such a cement, sponge iron and fertilisers buy from. This, however, accounts for around 15-20 per cent of the company’s revenue. Power generation companies shy from taking this route as the coal is sold at higher rates.
Goyal, on several occasions, including in the debate on power sector in the Rajya Sabha mentioned that Coal India has been asked to cut down on the amount of coal sold through e-auction and make it available for the power producers.
“Large amounts of coal are being sold through e-auction. This is not in public interest. Coal India’s primary duty is to supply to power plants,” Goyal had recently said in the Rajya Sabha.
However, post the annual general meeting of its board last week, there were reports that Coal India might go against this wish of the minister, fearing revenue loss. In the year 2012-13, while CIL reported a profit of Rs 15,711 crore. CIL sold 58 million tonne of coal through e-auction in 2012-13, this was 31% higher than last year. The selling price however fell by 13% to Rs 2,196 per tonne. This led to the total receipts from sale of coal through e-auction witnessing a slump of 28% to a realisation of Rs 600 per tonne on notified price.
The company spokesperson did not respond to the development.