The government may shortlist the applications early next month that it has received from firms such as McKinsey and KPMG to appoint advisors to restructure Coal India Ltd (CIL).
"The Coal Ministry may shortlist the applications it has received with regard to advisor for CIL in the first week of April," according to a source.
The ministry had in January invited bids for appointment of advisors to restructure of the country's largest coal producer.
In December, it had informed the Prime Minister's Office of the appointment of consultants with international expertise and frame timeline to take forward the proposal to restructure the state-owned miner.
The Planning Commission and many high-level panels, including Expert Committee on Road Map for the coal sector reforms - also known as T L Shankar Committee - recommended restructuring of CIL keeping in view of rapidly increasing demand of coal and the need for enhancing production as well as to make the coal sector competitive.
The Planning Commission had earlier suggested spinning off CIL subsidiaries into separate entities so that each one of them can pursue its own goals, amid growing supply deficit of coal.
World's largest coal miner CIL has seven subsidiaries such as Bharat Coking Coal Ltd (BCCL), Central Coalfields Ltd (CCL), Eastern Coalfields Ltd (ECL) and Central Mine Planning and Design Institute Ltd. The coal producer has 3.71 lakh employees.
The Planning Commission has estimated that the coal import could go up to 185 million tonne (MT) at the end of the 12th Plan based on total coal demand of 980 MT and domestic supply of 795 MT.
Imports could further increase if the domestic production does not grow by 8 per cent as projected. India's coal output was 540 MT during 2011-12, as against the demand of 640 MT.