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Law ministry against sale of surplus coal

Disagreeing with the Chawla panel report on natural resources, the law ministry has opined that regulations do not permit setting up of a 'platform' for selling of surplus coal by captive miners in the private sector.

The law ministry, in its opinion on the recommendations of the Ashok Chawla committee, has said under the existing law, the companies which have been given rights to extract coal for captive use, cannot sell surplus fuel through a 'platform' to be maintained by Coal India.

The committee's report on eight natural resources, including coal, had suggested formation of a platform, to be owned by Coal India, for transaction of coal. The surplus coal from captive mines could be sold to the platform for onward sale to registered users.

The coal ministry too held the view that creation of a coal platform, as suggested by the Committee 'does not fall in line with the current law,' a coal ministry official said.

'The law ministry also supported the view stating that the present law does not support the recommendation of the committee on coal platform,' he added.

The committee had also suggested competitive bidding for allocation of coal blocks and making public the minutes of the meeting of the Standing Linkage Committee (Long Term) pertaining to allocation decisions on coal.

The report of the committee has been hanging fire since it was submitted in May 2011, though some of its suggestions were accepted by the group of ministers headed by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee.

Besides other things, the Committee, headed by former finance secretary, had pitched for transparent process for allocation of natural resources.
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