April 13, 2012: The coal ministry will have the powers to overrule the proposed independent coal regulator that will decide price of the fuel, allot mining licences, monitor quality and adherence of rules by mining companies.
Though the coal ministry has maintained that it will surrender all its powers to the regulator, the proposed law says the government can issue necessary policy directives to increase fuel supply, equitable distribution and sustain friendly international relations.
According to the Coal Regulatory Authority Bill the central government's decisions will be binding on the authority. "Without prejudice to the foregoing provision, the central government may, if it deems necessary or expedient so to do in public interest... issue policy directives to the authority..." the bill says. The decision of the central government on whether a question is one of the policy or not shall be final," it says.
The coal ministry has sent a note to the cabinet, proposing the independent regulator that can also cancel mining authorisations, set performance standards and initiate investigations against miners, monitor coal quality, promote carbon free technologies and advise government on various issues.
The government will also be empowered to appoint and notify constitution of the coal regulator. Names for the four members of the coal regulator will be recommended by a selection committee chaired by cabinet secretary and consisting of chairman of Public Enterprises Selection Board, law and coal secretaries and a government appointed engineering or management expert.
Source: The Economic Times