The inter-ministerial panel constituted to give recommendations on setting up an independent regulatory authority for the coal sector is expected to meet next week.

“The meeting of the Group of Ministers (GoM) is on May 29,” a government official said.

The Law Ministry has already redrafted some sections of the Coal Regulatory Authority Bill and the GoM may take it up for formal approval during the meeting, the official added.

Settling the issue of fixing coal prices, the GoM had earlier this month decided that the proposed regulator will not determine fuel rates, a job that will continue to be vested with the producers.

The regulator will be, however, empowered to resolve disputes including those arising out of fuel supply agreements (FSAs).

“There is an agreement that pricing must be left to the producer of coal but the regulator will have power to adjudicate on disputes relating to price, quality, supplies.

All disputes will be adjudicated with the regulator and then there will be an appellate authority,” Finance Minister P Chidambaram had said after the meeting of the GoM.

Mr. Chidambaram, who heads the GoM, had said an agreement has been arrived upon on the contents of the Coal Regulatory Authority Bill to set up the regulator and the Law Ministry has been asked to redraft some sections of the Bill.

The proposal for setting up an independent regulatory authority for coal sector was submitted for consideration of the Cabinet, which referred it to the GoM.

Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal had also said the proposal was in the final stages.

An independent regulator for the sector is considered important for fixing guidelines for price revision, improving competitiveness in the e-auctions, setting trading margins and increasing transparency in the allocation of reserves.

The GoM includes Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan and Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia and Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal.

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