Rajya Sabha Select Committees on Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill and Coal Mines Bill today recommended their approval without any change, leading the Congress to strongly protest over the measures being rushed without taking on board the concerns of stakeholders.
Protesting Congress members trooped into the Well of the House, forcing a 10 minute adjournment, after the reports of the two Select Committees were presented in the House.
The 19-member panel on the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Bill, 2015 that provides for allocating coal mines through auction, referred the Bill to the House for passage without any change.
The report also contained five dissenting notes from Digvijaya Singh (Cong), P Bhattacharya and Rajeev Shukla (all Cong), Tiruchi Siva (DMK) and K N Balagopal (CPI-M).
The one on the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2015, too recommended no change in any of the clauses.
However, it wanted the government to consider at a later stage issues like impact of mining activities on environment, rampant illegal mining, lack of proper and scientific mine closure, land acquisition and resettlement and capturing windfall profits for the welfare of local and tribal communities.
“The Committee, in view of limited ambit of amending Bill under its consideration, is of the opinion that these issues are of utmost significance that warrant serious consideration by the government.
“The Committee, therefore, recommends that the Ministry should consider these issues to be incorporated subsequently in the MMDR Act, 1957 at an appropriate stage as well as in the relevant rules/regulations required to be framed thereunder,” it said.
Soon after Bhupender Yadav (BJP) tabled the Report of the Select Committee on the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2015 and Anil Madhav Dave (BJP) tabled the Report on the Select Committee on Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Bill, 2015, Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad rose to register his party’s protest.
“We want to register our protest against the manner in which the two bills are being rushed for passage,” he said.