Govt mulling mining bill in Winter session to allow pvt players

The government is gearing up to bring coal mining amendment bill in the Winter session of Parliament to permit private players to enter commercial mining in the sector.

The government, according to an official, will be consulting all the stakeholders, including the trade unions before formulating the CMN (Coal Mines (Nationalisation) Amendment Bill.

"We propose to introduce the Bill in the Winter Session of Parliament," the official said.

Coal Mines (Nationalisation) Amendment Bill, 2000 was introduced in Rajya Sabha on April 24, 2000 to amend the Coal Mines Nationalisation Act, 1973.

This was to allow Indian companies in the private sector to mine coal in the country without the existing restriction of captive mining, Goyal had earlier said.

According to the official, the said Bill could not be moved further for want of consensus with the trade unions.

Goyal had discussed about the issue earlier with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the official said.

The Bill was introduced in Rajya Sabha in April 2000 and a group of ministers was constituted to convince the trade unions to let it pass. However owing to their stiff opposition to the intent of the bill, it could not move forward.

The ministerial panel was reconstituted in August 2009 under the chairmanship of the then Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, but there was no further development in this regard.

The government had earlier in the Economic Survey said there was an urgent need to fast track entry of the private sector in commercial coal mining to augment country's coal production and reduce imports of the dry fuel that cost Rs 95,175 crore in FY 2014.

The private sector entry into commercial mining is expected to boost coal production as Coal India enjoys near monopoly in this. The state-run company meets about 80 per cent of the domestic requirement.

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