Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act, 2015

 
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[Act No. 11 of 2015]

[30th March, 2015]

PREAMBLE

An Act to provide for allocation of coal mines and vesting of the right, title and interest in and over the land and mine infrastructure together with mining leases to successful bidders and allottees with a view to ensure continuity in coal mining operations and production of coal, and for promoting optimum utilisation of coal resources consistent with the requirement of the country in national interest and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

Whereas the Supreme Court vide judgment dated 25th August, 2014 read with its order dated 24th September, 2014 has cancelled the allocation of coal blocks and issued directions with regard to such coal blocks and the Central Government in pursuance of the said directions has to take immediate action to implement the said order;

And whereas it is expedient in public interest for the Central Government to take immediate action to allocate coal mines to successful bidders and allottees keeping in view the energy security of the country and to minimise any impact on core sectors such as steel, cement and power utilities, which are vital for the development of the nation;

And whereas Parliament is competent to legislate under entry 54 of List I of the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution for regulation of mines and mineral development to the extent to which such regulation and development under the control of Union is declared by Parliament by law to be expedient in the public interest.

Be it enacted by Parliament in the Sixty-sixth Year of the Republic of India as follows:--

CHAPTER I

P RELIMINARY

Section 1 - Short title, extent and commencement

(1) This Act may be called the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act, 2015.

(2) It extends to the whole of India.

(3) It shall be deemed to have come into force on the 21st day of October, 2014.

Section 2 - Declaration as to expediency of Union action

It is hereby declared that it is expedient in the public interest that Union should take action for the development of Schedule I coal mines and extraction of coal on continuous basis for optimum utilisation.

Section 3 - Definitions

(1) In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires,--

(a) "additional levy" means, the additional levy as determined by the Supreme Court in Writ Petition (Criminal) No. 120 of 2012 as two hundred and ninety-five rupees per metric tonne of coal extracted;

(b) "allotment order" means the allotment order issued under section 5;

(c) "appointed date" in relation to--

(i) Schedule I coal mines excluding Schedule II coal mines, shall be the 24th day of September, 2014 being the date on which the allocation of coal blocks to prior allottees stood cancelled; and

(ii) Schedule II coal mines shall be the 1st day of April, 2015 being the date on which the allocation of coal blocks to prior allottees shall stand cancelled, in pursuance of the order of the Supreme Court dated the 24th September, 2014 passed in Writ Petition (Criminal) No. 120 of 2012;

(d) "bank" shall have the same meaning as assigned to it in clause (c) of the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, 2002 (54 of 2002);

(e) "coal mining operations" means any operation undertaken for the purpose of winning coal;

(f) "company" shall have the same meaning as assigned to it in clause (20) of section 2 of the Companies Act, 2013 (18 of 2013);

(g) "corporation" shall have the same meaning as assigned to it in clause (11) of section 2 of the Companies Act, 2013 (18 of 2013);

(h) "financial institution" shall have the same meaning as assigned to it in clause (m) of section 2 of the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, 2002 (54 of 2002);

(i) "Government company" shall have the same meaning as assigned to it in clause (45) of section 2 of the Companies Act, 2013 (18 of 2013);

(j) "mine infrastructure" includes mining infrastructure such as tangible assets used for coal mining operations, being civil works, workshops, immovable coal winning equipment, foundations, embankments, pavements, electrical systems, communication systems, relief centres, site administrative offices, fixed installations, coal handling arrangements, crushing and conveying systems, railway sidings, pits, shafts, inclines, underground transport systems, hauling systems (except movable equipment unless the same is embedded in land for permanent beneficial enjoyment thereof), land demarcated for afforestation and land for rehabilitation and resettlement of persons affected by coal mining operations under the relevant law;

(k) "nominated authority" means the authority nominated by the Central Government under section 6;

(l) "notification" means a notification published in the Official Gazette;

(m) "prescribed" means prescribed by rules made under this Act;

(n) "prior allottee" means prior allottee of Schedule I coal mines as listed therein who had been allotted coal mines between 1993 and 31st day of March, 2011, whose allotments have been cancelled pursuant to the judgment of the Supreme Court dated the 25th August, 2014 and its order dated 24th September, 2014 including those allotments which may have been de-allocated prior to and during the pendency of the Writ Petition (Criminal) No. 120 of 2012.

Explanation.--In case a mining lease has been executed in favour of a third party, subsequent to such allocation of Scheduled I coal mines, then, the third party shall be deemed to be the prior allottee;

(o) "Schedule" means a Schedule appended to this Act;

(p) "Schedule I coal mines" means,--

(i) all the coal mines and coal blocks the allocation of which was cancelled by the judgment dated 25th August, 2014 and its order dated 24th September, 2014 passed in Writ Petition (Criminal) No. 120 of 2012, including those allotments which may have been de-allocated prior to and during the pendency of the said Writ Petition;

(ii) all the coal bearing land acquired by the prior allottee and lands, in or adjacent to the coal mines used for coal mining operations acquired by the prior allottee;

(iii) any existing mine infrastructure as defined in clause (j);

(q) "Schedule II coal mines" means the forty-two Schedule I coal mines listed in Schedule II which are the coal mines in relation to which the order of the Supreme Court dated 24th day of September, 2014 was made;

(r) "Schedule III coal mines" means the thirty-two Schedule I coal mines listed in Schedule III or any other Schedule I coal mine as may be notified under sub-section (2) of section 7;

(s) "secured creditor" shall have the same meaning as assigned to it in clause (zd) of section 2 of the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, 2002 (54 of 2002);

(t) "secured debt" shall have the same meaning as assigned to it in clause (ze) of section 2 of the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, 2002 (54 of 2002);

(u) "security interest" shall have the same meaning as assigned to it in clause (zf) of section 2 of the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, 2002 (54 of 2002);

(v) "specified end-use" means any of the following end-uses and the expression "specified end-user" shall with its grammatical variations be construed accordingly,--

(i) production of iron and steel;

(ii) generation of power including the generation of power for captive use;

(iii) washing of coal obtained from a mine;

(iv) cement;

(v) such other end-use as the Central Government may, by notification, specify;

(w) "vesting order" means the vesting order issued under section 8.

(2) Words and expressions used herein and not defined, but defined in the Coal Bearing Areas (Acquisition and Development) Act, 1957 (20 of 1957), the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 (67 of 1957) and the Coal Mines (Nationalisation) Act, 1973 (26 of 1973) including any rules or regulations made thereunder, shall have the meanings, respectively assigned to them in those Acts.

CHAPTER II

AUCTION AND ALLOTMENT

Section 4 - Eligibility to participate in auction and payment of fees

(2) Subject to the provisions in sub-section (3) of this section and section 5, the Central Government may, for the purpose of granting reconnaissance permit, prospecting licence or mining lease in respect of any area containing coal, select any of the following companies through auction by competitive bidding, on such terms and conditions as may be prescribed--

(a) a Government company or corporation or a joint venture company formed by such company or corporation or between the Central Government or the State Government, as the case may be, or any other company incorporated in India; or

(b) a company or a joint venture company formed by two or more companies, that carry on coal mining operations in India, in any form either for own consumption, sale or for any other purpose in accordance with the permit, prospecting licence or mining lease, as the case may be, and the State Government shall grant such reconnaissance permit, prospecting licence or mining lease in respect of any area containing coal to such company as selected through auction by competitive bidding under this section.

(3) Subject to the provisions of section 5, the following persons who fulfil such norms as may be prescribed, shall be eligible to bid in an auction of Schedule II coal mines and Schedule III coal mines and to engage in coal mining operations in the event they are successful bidders, namely:--

(a) a company engaged in specified end-use including a company having a coal linkage which has made such investment as may be prescribed.

Explanation.--A "company with a coal linkage"...

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