Regulator for coal sector soon

Special Correspondent

Independent regulation of the coal sector becomes essential to ensure that e-auction remains competitive.

NEW DELHI: On the lines of regulatory authorities for insurance and telecom sectors, the coal sector is all set to get its regulator to oversee key issues such as price for long-term fuel supply and e-auctioning, a long pending demand.

The appointment of a regulator came up for discussion at the Planning Commission meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh here on Tuesday, where it was disclosed that a Cabinet note for appointment of a coal regulator had been approved by the Ministry of Coal and it was now contemplating sending the same to the Cabinet for approval along with the legislation concerned which will be introduced in Parliament. Stressing the need for reforms in the coal sector, the note of said: “Independent regulation of the coal sector becomes essential to ensure that e-auction remains competitive, to fix formulae for price revision for long-term fuel supply, to fix trading margins and to improve exploitation and allocation of available resources. The regulator will come up after the Bill is passed. There is a need to review the existing functioning of the regulators to identify specific measures which can promote competition and develop markets.”

While presenting the Budget for 2008-09, the then Finance Minister, P. Chidambaram had stated that a new Coal Distribution Policy was notified in October 2007. A coal regulator will be appointed. The Coal Ministry had appointed the Administrative Staff College of India (ASCI) as consultant on need for an independent regulator for coal sector. ASCI had submitted a report in this connection.

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