A bill to replace an ordinance brought to overcome the uncertainty in the coal sector after the Supreme Court cancelled the allocation of coal blocks was introduced in Lok Sabha today amid opposition from the BJD.
The Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Bill, 2015, was introduced by Coal Minister Piyush Goyal who insisted that the government was forced to go in for the ordinance in the wake of the apex court order cancelling allocation of certain coal blocks and issuing directions with regard to them.
Opposing the introduction of the bill, BJD leader Bhartruhari Mahtab said the Centre had taken certain “subjective” decisions on the issue.
He complained that his state Odisha was not taken into confidence by the Centre while deciding on “regulated” and “non-regulated” mines in the state despite Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik writing to the Prime Minister.
At the same time, Mahtab made it clear that his party was not against auctioning of the coal mines.
The BJD leader was also critical of the Centre issuing several ordinances insisting that such move “turns the legislature into a rubber stamp.” He cited Supreme Court orders as also communication of first Lok Sabha Speaker G V Mavalankar to drive home his point.
The government had issued the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Ordinance, 2014 on October 21, followed by the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Second Ordinance, 2014 in December.
The Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Bill 2015 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 allots through a transparent bidding process.
The main purpose of these ordinances was to overcome acute shortage of coal in core sectors and ensure energy security. They facilitated allocation of coal mines to steel, cement and power utilities which are vital for development.
The allocation of coal blocks was now being made in line with the provisions of the ordinances and rules made under them and the auction of coal blocks would be through an e-auction process in order to keep the process transparent.
The introduction of this bill was the second one to replace an ordinance, the earlier being the one to replace the controversial Land Acquisition Ordinance last week.