The mineral rights allotment process is set to slow down with the government considering whether to grant fresh mines under the current first-come-first-serve policy or wait for Parliament to enact a law stipulating a properly defined market-based open auction system of allocation.
The PMO has asked the mines ministry to seek comments from the ministry of law over policy clarifications for allotment of blocks.
Under the current policy, as defined by the 55-year-old Mines and Mineral (Development and Regulation) Act-1957, mineral rights are granted under the recommendations of the state government to companies under the first-come-first-serve structure. However, the draft MMDR Bill has recommended that allocation of mineral concessions for mining licences be made only through competitive bidding.
“The mines ministry has sought the law ministry’s opinion on whether it should continue granting approval of mineral rights under the current MMDR Act of 1957, or wait for the passage of the new bill,” a top government source said.
However, coal block auctions will not be affected by this. “No new coal blocks have been awarded since 2009,” said Union minister Sriprakash Jaiswal.
UPA plans meet to end logjam
New Delhi: The UPA is planning to hold an all-party meeting on Monday to end the logjam over coal block allocation in Parliament, Union minister Ashwani Kumar has said. The proposal was also discussed at the Congress core committee meeting on Friday.
Meanwhile, non-NDA opposition parties—who are in favour of letting Parliament proceedings continue—may hold another meeting to put pressure on the BJP. HTC