Coal mines allotment most non-transparent: Par Panel
New Delhi: "Most non-transparent procedure" was adopted from 1993-2010 for allotment of coal mines and the entire selection process of Screening Committee seems to have favoured certain companies, a Parliamentary panel said on Thursday.
"The Committee had observed that most non-transparent procedure was adopted from 1993-2010 for allocation of coal blocks," the Standing Committee on Coal and Steel said in its 42nd report.
It added: "The...Entire selection process of Screening Committee seems to have favoured certain individual companies without going into merits of the company's track record and preparedness to set up end use projects as majority of coal blocks could not be developed even after 13 to 15 years of allotment of coal blocks."
Official auditor CAG had earlier estimated a notional loss of Rs 1.86 lakh crore on account of mines being alloted to private companies without auction.
CBI is probing irregularities in the allotment, and the matter is before the Supreme Court.
The panel said applicants used to identify a coal block and approach the Coal Ministry for allocation and their applications were considered by Screening Committee consisting of Coal Secretary and representatives from various ministries, including steel and power, besides Coal India Ltd and the state governments.
"The natural resources and State largesse were distributed to few fortunate for their own benefit without any transparent system, was total abuse of power by the Government," it said.
The Parliamentary panel further said that review committee had not undertaken the periodic reviews and progress of the allocated coal mines, resulting in failure of the government policy to allocate coal blocks to private entrepreneurs for captive mining.
The Committee added that it is dismayed to note that out of 195 allocated coal blocks from 1993 to 2010, only 35 coal blocks have been developed so far.
"What has further surprised the Committee is the fact that the government have nowhere accepted the fact that both the Screening Committee and the Review Committee did not function in objective and transparent manner and had acted arbitrarily," the report said.
Without commenting further "on the subject matter as the same is reportedly sub-judice", the Committee concluded that both Screening Committee and Review Committee had miserably failed to ensure allocation and the review of coal blocks.
"The Committee expect the IMG (Inter-Ministerial Committee) to immediately complete the review of all the 195 coal blocks allocated for captive mining and would also like to be apprised of the present status of their review," it said.