New Delhi: The Group of Ministers on coal regulatory Bill is likely to meet for the first time this week to deliberate on the issue.

"The first meeting of Group of Ministers (GoM) on coal regulatory Bill may be held this week," a source close to the development said.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had last month approved the formation of the nine-member GoM under the Chairmanship of Home Minister P Chidambaram.

Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal, Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Power Minister Sushilkumar Shinde are part of the GoM.

Mines Minister Dinsha Patel, Corporate Affairs Minister M Veerappa Moily, Labour Minister Mallikarjun Kharge and Law Minister Salman Khurshid are the other members.

The Cabinet in its meeting on May 10 considered the note regarding constitution of coal regulatory authority and referred it to the GoM, once set up, to immediately look into setting up the coal regulatory authority.

The Coal Ministry had moved a draft Bill to the Cabinet which could not reach a consensus on some of the provisions in the Bill.

Sources had said that some of the Ministers were against grant of so many executive functions to the proposed coal regulator.

Besides ensuring transparency in allocation of coal blocks, the proposed Bill seeks to provide a level-playing field to all stakeholders and promote investment in the sector.

As per the draft Bill, the regulator's functions include granting authorisation to any person for undertaking mining, monitoring and enforcing closure of mines and determining price of raw and washed coal.

Also, the regulator will attempt to expedite resolution of disputes relating to pricing of coal and put in place benchmarks for performance of companies in the sector.

Earlier this year, it was reported that the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) had estimated losses of crores of rupee to the exchequer on allotment of coal blocks during 2004 to 2009 without auction to 100 private and public sector companies.

However, CAG Vinod Rai had later said the media reports quoting the loss figure of Rs 10.76 lakh crore did "not even constitute our pre-final draft and are exceedingly misleading".


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