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HindustanTimes Sat,30 Aug 2014

Loss misleading; coal blocks allocation transparent: PM

PTI  New Delhi, August 22, 2012
First Published: 20:08 IST(22/8/2012) | Last Updated: 22:05 IST(22/8/2012)

With the Opposition targeting the government over CAG report on coal allocation, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is geared up to rebut in Parliament the charges, contending that there were "inaccuracies" in the "misleading" assessment of loss of Rs. 1.85 lakh crore.

In the six-point response, which he was unable to present in Parliament due to the stalemate caused by the Opposition, the Prime Minister would be underlining that the coal blocks were allocated in a transparent and appropriate manner through checks and balances without any favour to any company.

The thrust of the Prime Minister's response is that Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Odisha and Jharkhand, all ruled by non-UPA governments, had opposed in 2005 the Centre's move to bring a legislation on auction process, sources said.

He holds the opposition by these states responsible for the delay in introduction of competitive bidding for allocation of coal blocks "as a new concept was being contemplated requiring changes in relevant laws as well as building consensus despite opposition to the proposal from different stakeholders, states and ministries."

The law for auction bidding is now in place.

The delay in coal block allocation was one of the charges made by the CAG.

The Prime Minister had on Tuesday said that he "can give satisfactory answers to all issues being raised."

Contesting the CAG's contention that private firms gained to the tune of Rs. 1.85 lakh crore in coal block allocation between 2005 and 2009, Singh's assertion is that it reflects "inaccuracies" in the report.

The Prime Minister's point is that the CAG has computed on the basis of allocation of 57 mines but out of these, 31 coal blocks belong to the period prior to 2006.

He also says the amount of loss projected by CAG was "misleading" as calculations had been done on the basis of Coal India prices and private players have different cost parameters.

In a war of words, the government on Wednesday hit back at the Bharatiya Janata Party saying that it was avoiding a Parliament debate because BJP-ruled states which objected to the auction of coal blocks.

Coal minister Sriprakash Jaiswal said that the Prime Minister is not responsible for allocation.

Jaiswal said that the BJP cannot face a debate in Parliament because they know things will be clear

"The BJP-ruled states opposed bidding in writing. The states rejected Centre's proposal for bidding," Jaiwal said.

The minister said that the CBI is probing the irregularities and that people who are found guilty will be punished.

As Parliament remained disrupted for the second day on Wednesday over CAG report on coal block allocation, the government and the BJP held their grounds.

Attacking the BJP, the government said it was making all efforts to persuade the main Opposition party to discuss the CAG report on coal block allocation.

While the BJP said the government should go and fresh elections be held in the country.

"We are making all efforts to persuade opposition to come for discussion," law minister Salman Khurshid told reporters after Parliament was paralysed for the second day running with the BJP pressing for resignation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over the issue.


The minister also rejected the opposition's demand for Singh's resignation, saying, "Entire nation accepts that we are fortunate to have such a Prime Minister and that such a Prime Minister is leading us."

Khurshid termed as "unfortunate" the continuous disruption of Parliament where MPs come "every morning with hope, expectations and aspirations of the people of our the country".

"We are frustrating (the people) because we are unable to speak to each other. We (Government) have offered a full debate and we are willing to offer every thing that we have and place that before the people, to the House," he said.

Minister of state for parliamentary affairs Harish Rawat and minister of state for power KC Venugopal also hit out at the BJP for disrupting the House proceedings.

"Issues of drought and flood were listed for discussion in Lok Sabha. In Rajya Sabha, the discussion on price rise was listed. These are issues which are very much concerned with common man," Rawat said.

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"They (BJP) are not interested in having a discussion on the issues that they have raised in the House. It is a very unfortunate situation," Venugopal said.

"We will not allow the loot of the country any more. This government should go and fresh elections should be held in the country," BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar told reporters outside Parliament House.

BJP was adament in its demand for the Prime Minister's resignation.

Asked whether BJP does not want discussion in Parliament on CAG reports, he said, "It is diversonary tactics of Congress. Congress has no respect for PAC or any constitutional mechanism. The way they scuttled the PAC report only testifies this. So we are not buying their argument of sending the reports to PAC."

Javadekar said, "Congress has lost the trust of the people so we cannot allow it to prolong the loot regime. Our fight is against the organised loot."

On whether BJP would continue to disrupt Parliament, he said, "We are not disrupting the House. It is the Congress regime which is doing it."

Janata Dal (United), a key ally of NDA, favoured discussion on CAG reports on coal block allocation and other issues instead of disruption of Parliament proceedings.



JD-U embarrassed the BJP in Lok Sabha by initiating a special discussion on flood and drought situation even as members of the main opposition were in the Well shouting slogans against the Prime Minister.

Rajiv Ranjan Singh (JD-U) surprised many in the opposition benches by speaking on the issue when Deputy Speaker Kariya Munda took up the listed item.

Unhappy with the disruption caused by BJP, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal said the government was willing to initiate the debate immediately on the three CAG reports. But, his offer went unheeded with opposition members shouting slogans like "Pradhan Mantri gaddi choro (PM should quit)."

"Their intention is clear. What do they want to convert Parliament into? Parliament is for discussions. Let them come and discuss. We will demolish the opposition's point of view and that is why they are running away," Bansal said.

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