Sunday, May 22, 2022

Cabinet okays policy for use of land acquired under CBA Act. Here’s how it’ll impact CIL

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  • PSUs such as CIL and its subsidiaries shall remain owner 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
  • This unlocking of non-minable land for other purposes will also help CIL in reducing its cost of operations as it will be able to set up coal-related infrastructure and other projects

New Delhi: With the objectives of facilitating utilisation of land which 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 on Wednesday the policy for use of land acquired under the Coal Bearing Areas (Acquisition & Development) Act, 1957 (CBA Act). The policy provides for utilisation of such land for the purpose of development and setting up of infrastructure relating to coal and energy.

The CBA Act provides for acquisition of coal bearing lands and their vesting in government company, free from any encumbrance. The approved policy provides clear policy framework for utilisation of lands that have been acquired under the CBA Act and that are no longer suitable or economically viable for coal mining activities or from which coal has been mined out and reclamation has been done.

Coal India to remain owner of lands acquired under CBA Act

PSUs such as Coal India Ltd (CIL) and its subsidiaries shall remain owner 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, said a statement.

“The government company which owns the land would lease such land for 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,” said the statement.

The lands will be used to set up coal washeries, conveyor systems, Coal Handling Plants (CHPs), railway sidings, thermal and renewal power projects, coal development-related infrastructure, including compensatory afforestation, coal gasification and coal to chemical plants or energy related infrastructure. The land will also be used for rehabilitation and resettlement of project-affected families due to acquisition of land under the CBA Act or other land acquisition law and to provide Right of Way.

Employment generation 

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, establishment of various coal and energy related infrastructure, without transfer of ownership from PSUs would lead to generation of a large number of direct and indirect employment.

CBA Act: CIL will use non-mineable land for setting up solar plants

This unlocking of non-minable land for other purposes will also help CIL in reducing its cost of operations as it will be able to set up coal-related infrastructure and other projects, such as solar plants, on its own land by adopting different business models in partnership with the private sector. It will make coal gasification projects viable as coal need not be transported to distant places.

The proposal to utilise land for rehabilitation purpose would ensure proper utilisation of land and would eliminate wastage of all-important land resource, avoid acquisition of fresh chunk of land for rehabilitation of Project Affected Families, eliminate loading of additional financial burden on the projects and increase profit, said the statement. It will also address the demand of the displaced families as they always prefer to stay as close as possible to their original residential places. It will help in obtaining local support for coal projects and also providing land to the state government for afforestation in lieu of forest land diverted to coal mining, it added.

“The policy will help in realising the goal of Atmanirbhar Bharat by encouraging domestic manufacturing, reducing import dependence, job creation, etc. The policy will unlock land for various coal and energy infrastructure development activities that would encourage investment in backward areas of the country. Utilisation of already acquired land would also prevent fresh acquisition of land and related displacement and would promote local manufacturing and industries,” the statement said.

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