While the chances of the Coal Regulatory Authority Bill 2013 getting passed in the current session of the Parliament remains unlikely, the government on Thursday gave its nod for setting up a regulator in the sector through an executive order, which only gives the body recommendatory powers.
“The CCEA at its meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh gave the nod to the proposal to set up coal regulator through an executive order as there was little or no chance of the Coal Regulatory Authority Bill 2013 getting the approval of Parliament,” said a senior minister at the briefing after the cabinet meeting. “The new government can taken this initiative now and get the legislative approval after the elections.”
The regulator will be empowered to specify principles and methodology for determination of price of raw coal and washed coal and any other by-product generated during washing.
It would also regulate methods for testing for declaration of grades or quality of coal, specify procedure for automatic coal sampling and adjudicate upon disputes between parties besides monitoring closure of mines and approval of mining plans.
The regulator however, would not have the power to specify prices of coal in the domestic market and state-owned Coal India Ltd would continue to enjoy that freedom. It would also have no say in mine allocation.
The sector is under scrutiny over irregularities in allotmnent of mines. The apex court is monitoring a Central Bureau of Investigation probe into irregularities in the allotment of coal mines between 1993 and 2010.