Millennium Post

Coal & Mines: Industry welcomes passage of Bills

“The passing of the Mines and Minerals Bill in the Rajya Sabha will provide transparency in the system, which will foster industrial growth and development in the country in the coming times,” PHD Chamber President Alok B Shriram said. The bill will facilitate auction of mines that supply minerals like iron ore and bauxite, which will bring down the costs of raw materials and boost business sentiments,” he added.

Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2015, seeking to introduce auction of mines to enhance transparency in mineral allocations was passed in Rajya Sabha on Friday. The Bill was already passed by the Lok Sabha and seeks to replace an ordinance. Assocham said passage of the Bill in both the Houses of Parliament shows that despite tough posturing, political parties are behaving in a very mature way when it comes to key economic reforms. “Full marks to different political parties who showed same spirit in Insurance Bill,” Assocham President Rana Kapoor said.

The Bill envisages spending of a fixed percentage of revenue generated from mining on the development of the local area. As per its provisions, there will be no renewal of any mining concession, unlike the original act of 1957. Also, the licence will be for 50 years, as against 30 now, after which there will be no renewal but compulsory auction.

Government has already identified 199 mines for auction. CII Director General Chandrajit Banerjee said this will bring in much-needed transparency in the allocation process and kick-start the mining sector, which was languishing for want of clear guidelines. “The bill will pave the way for restarting mining in the country, thereby easing the pressure on availability of raw material, so vital for many key sectors that provide inputs to manufacturing,” he added. “The long tenure of licenses of 50 years and well defined Centre-State powers, provided in the MMRD, will help build industry confidence in the process and attract investments, Banerjee said.

Moreover, welcoming the passage of the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Bill, 2015 in Parliament, industry said the new law will boost economic growth as it is a shot in the arm of investors and provides certainty and clarity in the policy regime.

The crucial bill that provides legal framework for auction of coal blocks was passed by Parliament today, replacing an ordinance that was to expire on April 5.

Jindal Steel and Power Managing Director Ravi Uppal said: “We complement the government’s initiative for taking the decision. It is a very forward looking step which was long overdue. It will bring transparency into the sector and open new era.”

‘Mahan coal block not to be auctioned’
Coal Ministry has confirmed in an RTI reply that the Mahan coal block in Madhya Pradesh will not be auctioned, pursuant to the Environment Ministry’s recommendation that it be kept off limits from mining, Greenpeace India on Friday claimed. The move, it said in a statment, comes as another “blow” to Essar Energy, which had hoped to mine the forest to supply coal for its nearby power plant.

“After being termed anti-national by sections of this government, it is refreshing to see them accepting what Greenpeace and Mahan Sangharsh Samiti have been saying for years,” said Priya Pillai, Greenpeace Senior Campaigner.

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