New rehabilitation policy within a month: Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal

Kolkata, Oct 12 (Calcutta Tube) The Group of Ministers would finalise within a month a new rehabilitation and resettlement policy for those displaced by mining projects, Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal said Monday.

‘We are making a policy. I think within one month the policy will be finalized. Twenty six percent of profit or 10 percent royalty, whichever is higher, should be given to the land losers every year. Coal ministry is ready for this,’ he told reporters on the sidelines of a seminar organised by Merchants’ Chamber of Commerce here.

He said this policy would be applicable to both existing as well as new projects where 26 percent profit earned from a particular mining project should be distributed proportionately among the land losers.

A 10-member ministerial panel headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee last month arrived at a consensus on the draft Mines and Mineral (Development and Regulation) Bill 2010l, which, among other things, makes it mandatory for companies to share 26 per cent of the profits from mining with project-affected people. The GoM will now clear the final draft of the Bill which would go to the Cabinet for approval before it is tabled in Parliament.

‘Both public or private companies have to share its profit with the affected people,’ he said.

Jaiswal clarified that the mining projects, which are already operational, need not have to pay retrospectively.

‘The resentment that started 20 years back has taken the shape of Maoist problem or Naxalite problem. If the government does not take such a major step (rehabilitation and resettlement policy) we cannot pacify the land losers and if we cant pacify them now after 10 years these law and order problems will become so big that it will be difficult to handle,’ he said.

Asked whether such rehabilitation and resettlement policy would increase coal prices in the long run, he said: ‘It might.’

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