GoM on new mines bill to meet again on July 30

Last Updated: Thursday, July 22, 2010 - 21:49

New Delhi: A 10-member panel headed by
Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee is expected to meet again at
the end of this month to resolve the inter-ministerial
differences over the proposed mining legislation after an
inconclusive meeting today.

"The Group of Ministers will meet on July 30 again. Only
4-5 ministers expressed their views on the subject today," a
senior government official said.

However, an official confirmation on the date of the next
meet could not be immediately ascertained.

Coming out of the meet, Mines Minister B K Handique said,
"Discussions went on fine today. We will again meet soon."

Elaborating on the meet, Mines Secretary Santha Sheela
Nair, who made the presentation on the bill to the panel,
said, "The bill has 113 sections compared to 43 sections in
the prevailing Mines Act, which governs the sector. Some
ministers gave their views today while others are yet to give
their opinion."

The new bill has a separate section on sustainable
development, with the objective of imparting justice to the
tribals, Nair said, adding, "The discussions are important,
We have legal licence to mine, we have environment licence
to mine, now we will have social licence to mine as well. Next
meet will take forward the discussions."

However, when asked if the Mines Ministry was pushing to
introduce the bill in the Monsoon session of Parliament
starting next week, she said, "We want it as soon as
possible."

Handique had earlier said that the bill could be
introduced in the winter session of Parliament. After GoM`s
deliberations, the bill will go to the Cabinet for approval.

"All important issues, including illegal mining, giving
equity to land losers, conservation of iron ore, were
discussed," Nair added.

Last month, the government had formed a Group of
Ministers (GoM) to debate the proposed legislation--Mines and
Minerals Development and RegulationAct, 2010--to govern the
sector.

Besides Mukherjee, the GoM includes Home Minister P
Chidambaram, Steel Minister Virbhadra Singh, Law Minister
Veerappa Moily, Mines Minister BK Handique, Commerce Minister
Anand Sharma, Tribal Affairs Minister Kantilal Bhuria,
Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia,
Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal, and Environment Minister
Jairam Ramesh.

Planning Commission deputy chairman Ahluwalia, who could
be present in the meeting today, was represented by Planning
Commission Secretary Sudha Pillai.

Out of the four ministers that presented their views
today, Home Minister P Chidambaram gave his suggestion on a
proposal to make the displaced families stakeholders in the
mining project, the official said.

PTI



First Published: Thursday, July 22, 2010 - 21:49

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