Coal ministry seeks regulatory cover for mining lease, pricing

Amidst allegations of a Rs10,67,000-crore loss to the exchequer in the allocation of coal blocks to 100 companies, including public and private coal miners, the coal ministry has prepared a `Coal Regulatory Bill, 2012', that it said would ensure transparency and equity in allocation as also the pricing of coal.

"I have already signed (the bill) and it has been sent to the cabinet," coal minister Sriprakash Jaiswal said today.

The coal ministry is at the receiving end of public criticism over disclosure in a draft report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of presumptive losses to the tune of Rs10,67,000 crore to the government on account of allotment of coal blocks with reserves of 50 billion tonnes to 100 private and public sector companies between 2004 and 2009.

The Coal Regulatory Bill, 2012, would lead to the setting up of a regulator for the coal mining industry, which would improve transparency in allocation of coal mining rights and coal pricing, the coal minister said in a statement.

The regulator would look into the allocation of coal blocks and mining rights as also issues relating to pricing of the fuel, he said.

The bill will ensure transparency in the allocation of coal blocks and provide level field to all stakeholders, the minister said.