With the objectives of facilitating the utilisation of lands that are mined out or are practically unsuitable for coal mining and for increasing investment and job creation in the coal sector, the Union Cabinet has approved the policy for use of land acquired under the Coal Bearing Areas (Acquisition & Development) Act, 1957 [CBA Act].
The policy provides for the utilisation of such land for the purpose of development and setting up infrastructure relating to coal and energy.
The CBA Act provides for the acquisition of coal-bearing lands and their vesting in Government companies, free from any encumbrance.
The approved policy provides a clear policy framework for the utilisation of the following types of lands acquired under the CBA Act:
–Lands no longer suitable or economically viable for coal mining activities; or
–Lands from which coal has been mined out / de-coaled and such land has been reclaimed.
Government coal companies, such as Coal India Ltd. (CIL) and its subsidiaries shall remain owners of these lands acquired under the CBA Act and the policy allows only leasing of the land for the specified purposes given in the policy.
Government coal companies can deploy private capital in joint projects for coal and energy-related infrastructure development activities.
The government company which owns the land would lease such land for a specific period given under the policy and the entities for leasing shall be selected through a transparent, fair and competitive bid process and mechanism in order to achieve optimal value.
The lands will be considered for activities like setting up coal washeries; setting up conveyor systems; establishing coal handling plants; constructing railway sidings; rehabilitation and resettlement of project affected families due to acquisition of land under the CBA Act or other land acquisition law; setting up thermal and renewable power projects and setting up or provide for coal development-related infrastructure including compensatory afforestation.
The lands which are mined out or are practically unsuitable for coal mining are prone to unauthorised encroachment and entail avoidable expenditure on security and maintenance. Under the approved policy, the establishment of various coal and energy-related infrastructure, without transfer of ownership from Government companies, would lead to the generation of a large number of direct and indirect employment.
The policy will help in realising the goal of ”Aatmanirbhar Bharat” by encouraging domestic manufacturing, reducing import dependence, job creation, etc.