Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Bill, 2015

On 20-03-2015, the Parliament passed the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Bill, 2015. Earlier, the Bill was passed by Lok Sabha on 04-03-2015. The objective of the Bill is to amend the Coal Mines (Nationalization) Act, 1973 and the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 in order to remove the restriction of end use from the eligibility to undertake coal mining except in the case of certain specified coal blocks. The Bill also seeks to provide transparent allocation or auction of coal mines. Salient features of the Bill are as follows

·         defines 204 cancelled blocks as ‘Schedule-I coal mines’.

·         defines 42 producing and ready to produce coal mine out of Schedule-I coal mines as ‘Schedule-II coal mines’.

·         defines 32 substantially developed coal blocks out of Schedule-I coal mines as ‘Schedule-III coal mines’ meant for specified end-use.

·         empowers the Central Government to classify mines identified from Schedule I coal mines as earmarked for the same class of specified end-uses.

·         allocation to be made through auction to a company or corporation.

·         no end use restrictions on the eligibility to participate in the auction, other than for Schedule II & III coal mines.

·         appointment of the ‘Nominated Authority’ for conduct of auction/ allotment and vesting and transfer of all interests, rights and titles of these coal mines in the successful bidder or allottee.

·         the Nominated Authority to be assisted by experts and other officers.

·         the Nominated Authority to receive the proceeds of auction and disburse it to respective States.

·         compensation only for land and immovable mining infrastructure shall be paid to the prior allottee after paying secured creditors.

·         provision for the quantum of compensation for the mine infrastructure and for the land in relation to Schedule I coal mines.

·         appointment of ‘Commissioner of Payments’ for disbursal of compensation.

·         appointment of Custodian(s) by the Central Government for operation and management of the coal mines till they are allocated through auction or allotment.

·         any dispute arising out of any action of the Central Government/ nominated authority or any dispute between the successful bidder or allottee and prior allottee arising out of any issue connected with the Act to be adjudicated through the tribunal constituted under the Coal Bearing Areas (Acquisition and Development), Act, 1957.

·         repeals the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Second Ordinance, 2014.

-Ministry of Coal

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