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HindustanTimes Fri,29 Aug 2014

Coal scam: PM 'may intervene' in Parliament

IANS  New Delhi, August 22, 2013
First Published: 11:49 IST(22/8/2013) | Last Updated: 18:14 IST(22/8/2013)

The UPA government on Thursday said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh "may intervene" and give a clarification on the missing coal block allocation files, if the opposition continued to remain dissatisfied with the replies being provided by coal minister Sriprakash Jaiswal on various aspects of the issue.

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"The government is ready for a discussion, and the Prime Minister, if required, may intervene," said minister of state for parliamentary affairs Rajeev Shukla in the Rajya Sabha, in the presence of a silent Prime Minister.

The Opposition had said it won't let Parliament function unless Prime Minister Manmohan Singh responded on the missing files related to the allocation of coal blocks to private companies at throwaway prices.

"We are not satisfied with the statement of the Coal Minister, the PM is in the House, we want him to reply," said Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley.

The opposition alleges some of the files were from the time the PM was in charge of the coal ministry and some allocations were made to companies linked to Congress leaders.

The government had so far resisted the opposition's demands.

"The PM is not a custodian of files. He does not sit in store rooms, does not need to reply. The coal minister will reply," Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath had said outside the House.

He added, "If the BJP wants to disrupt, there are many excuses. The weather could also be one."

But in Lok Sabha trouble continued when the govt moved a resolution demanding suspension of 11 MP who have been protesting the division of Andhra Pradesh to create Telangana

These MPs came to the well of the House and tried to remove a mike kept on Speaker Meira Kumar's table.

Lok Sabha adjourned for the day amid continued uproar over motion to suspend 11 MPs on Telangana issue.

 The government has seven working days to pass the Food Security Bill. Despite cross-party support, the Bill will lapse if it does not get Parliament's approval before the session ends on August 30, which will be a huge embarrassment for the ruling Congress.

The landmark pro-poor scheme, which aims at providing highly-subsidised food to nearly 70 per cent of India's population at a cost of some Rs. 1.25 lakh crores, is being seen as the Congress's main lifeline as it seeks a third straight victory in national elections, due by May.

(With agency inputs)


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