The Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Bill, which replaces and Ordinance promulgated in October, was passed by voice vote overcoming demands by some opposition parties it be sent to the Parliamentary Standing Committee for closer scrutiny.
    
The Bill provides 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 through a transparent bidding process.
     
"This will ensure continuity in coal mining operations and production of coal. The bill prescribes the conditions to rationalise the coal sector for mining operations, consumption and sale."
     
Replying to the debate, Coal Minister Piyush Goyal allayed concerns raised by some members that the new legislation would pave the way for de-nationalisation or privatisation of the coal sector.
     
"We are in fact strengthening" the Public Sector Undertaking Coal India Limited, he said.
     
Contending that new law will encourage transparency as allocation would be made through e-auction, he said the effort was to undo the damage caused during the previous UPA government when coal blocks were "given free".
     
Responding to concerns about the workers' welfare, the Minister said there are enough laws to protect their interest and the new law will give maximum benefits to the people displaced by coal mine projects.
     
Members from parties like Congress, Trinamool Congress, BJD and Left demanded that the bill should be referred to the Standing Committee for a thorough scrutiny.

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