Millennium Post

‘Open to new options if RS stops coal Bill’

The Government may look at other alternatives if the passage of Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Bill faces hiccups in the Rajya Sabha. The Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha earlier this month to replace the Ordinance. “Will look for an alternative provision if coal bill not passed in Rajya Sabha,” Power and Coal Minister Piyush Goyal said here on Saturday. He declined to comment when asked as to what the alternative could be.

On December 12, the Lok Sabha passed a bill which provides for fresh auction of 204 coal blocks de-allocated by the Supreme Court in September, with the Government allaying apprehensions of some parties that the legislation would lead to privatisation of the sector. The Bill provides for “allocation of coal mines and vesting of the right, title and interest in and over the land and mine infrastructure, together with mining leases, to successful bidders and allottees through a transparent bidding process.

Members from parties like the Congress, Trinamool Congress, BJD and Left demanded that the bill should be referred to the Standing Committee for a thorough scrutiny. The Ordinance was issued in October to facilitate auctioning of the cancelled blocks and the first round would see auction of 74 blocks.

Meanwhile, former Industry & Commerce Minister and senior Congress leader Anand Sharma said on Saturday that the Government should not rush through the Coal Bill as it would lead to litigations, given the contradictory provisions in it. Addressing the annual meet of industry body Ficci here, Sharma, who is Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, said “Why the Coal Bill has to be rushed through without scrutiny... The new Bill requires very close scrutiny. It will lead to litigations across the country. It has conflicting provisions. It is open to legal challenge.”
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