an iffy clause in India’s new coal bill

The new coal bill may allow the discretionary allotment of mines, as experts say a new clause in the proposed law can be interpreted as facilitating such action. However, coal ministry officials say the clause has been inserted only to allow tariff-based bidding.
Section 5(1) of The Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Bill, 2014, says the government can allot coal blocks deallocated by the Supreme Court not only to public sector units or joint ventures between two or more government companies but also “to a company which has been awarded a power project on the basis of competitive bids for tariff (including Ultra Mega Power Projects)” or UMPPs.
“This means that even private companies can be allocated coal blocks without an auction,” according to Dipesh Dipu, an energy consultant teaching at Hyderabad’s Administrative Staff College of India.
the coal bill was passed by the lok sabha yesterday. it now goes to the rajya sabha. the auctions will start soon. and i am waiting to see how fair the auctions are. and whether oligarchs again manage to corner the damn blocks.

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