House panel paves way for commercial mining of coal

The 19-member committee, in its report to the Rajya Sabha, has endorsed the coal ministry’s contention that there should be no insistence on specifying the usage of coal for “own consumption”.

By: ENS Economic Bureau | New Delhi | Published:March 19, 2015 2:59 am

Paving the way for introduction of commercial coal mining in the country, a Parliamentary select committee on Wednesday vetted the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Bill, which seeks to end the usage of coal for just captive purposes.

The 19-member committee, in its report to the Rajya Sabha, has endorsed the coal ministry’s contention that there should be no insistence on specifying the usage of coal for “own consumption” as it would amount to restricting its utilisation for other purposes. The move could facilitate the beginning of commercial mining of coal in the near future.

Coal secretary Anil Swarup had told The Indian Express on Tuesday that as of now no commercial mining have been allowed and 33 coal blocks auctioned between February 14 and March 9 have only been given to companies with end use plants.

Finance minister Arun Jaitley had in October last year said the Coal Ordinance promulgated by the NDA government has an “enabling provision” for amending the Coal Mines Nationalisation Act although this would be done in the future and Coal India would not be impacted by it in any way.

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Passage of the bill in Rajya Sabha has become imperative for the government to execute further tranches of the auction. The coal ministry is learnt to have identified 20 more mines to be auctioned soon. The Bill, that seeks to replace the Ordinance promulgated twice by the government, has been passed by Lok Sabha but had to be referred to the Rajya Sabha Select Committee for its views. Both these bills are stuck in the Rajya Sabha as the opposition has demanded that it be referred to select committees for further consideration.

Another select committee on amending the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2015 has asked the government to ensure that issues like the impact of mining on environment, rampant illegal mining, lack of proper and scientific mine closure, land acquisition and resettlement and capturing windfall profits for the welfare of local and tribal communities should be taken care of at a later stage. Five MPs — Digvijaya Singh, P Bhattacharya and Rajeev Shukla (Congress), Tiruchi Siva (DMK) and KN Balagopal (CPI-M) have submitted their dissent notes against the select committee’s report on the coal mining bill.

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  1. P
    P K Rathor
    Mar 19, 2015 at 7:20 am
    The persons or organizations which are opposed to this bill are anti nationals and they do not want to see our country progress and come under developed category.They want India to continue to import coal for ever and we keep sleeping on idle coal resource. It is needed that this bill be ped without hindrance.The apprehension of denationalization and loss of jobs is baseless.After page of the bill more coal mines will be opened and door for employment will open and more youths will get job.The trade unions should help the govt in smooth page of the bill. How it is possible to provide electricity to all without increasing coal production We can not sustain on imported coal.
    Reply