Cabinet approves Bill on mines auction to replace coal ordinance

PRESS TRUST OF INDIA New Delhi | Updated on December 02, 2014 Published on December 02, 2014

The Government on Tuesday cleared a Bill on coal block auctions to replace an ordinance that was promulgated to begin auction of coal mines cancelled by the Supreme Court.

The Bill to replace the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Ordinance, 2014 is likely to be brought before Parliament during the winter session.

“Cabinet has approved the Bill,” a source said, after it met here.

The Supreme Court had in September cancelled allocation of 204 coal blocks, including 42 operational mines and another 32 ready-to-start blocks.

Supreme Court deadline

Through the ordinance, the Centre started the process of auctioning at least 74 operational or ready-to-operate blocks with the target of allocating them by March, well before the Supreme Court deadline for companies operating mines to wind up operations.

The ordinance has been opposed by central trade unions, including BJP-affiliated trade union Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS). BMS, AITUC, CITU, HMS and INTUC have jointly opposed the government’s proposal to allow private players to mine coal and sell it in the open market, a right till now reserved with state-owned Coal India Limited.

Opposition to ordinance

The ordinance has also come under attack from the Left parties.

Meanwhile, the Centre has said that the 74 coal mines the government plans to auction to specific end-users in the first phase of bidding on February 11, will not require any green clearances.

The auction will be for the private sector, while state-owned companies will get mines via allotment.

The government had last week announced auctioning and allotment of 74 blocks in the first phase of bidding. These blocks have a potential to produce 210 million tonnes of coal.

Published on December 02, 2014
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