New Delhi: Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia on Friday expressed the hope that auction of coal blocks will start this year itself.
"I sincerely hope that in this year which will be the last year of UPA too, that we are able to say that auctioning as a system has started and there is no reason why it can't be done," Ahluwalia said in an interview to a TV channel.
The coal block allocation has been an area of concern and Ahluwalia thinks that government recognises that these coal block allocation decisions are bound to be subject to questioning and hence must be auctioned.
Supporting policy for using surplus coal, Ahluwalia said: "...Flexibility..Is absolutely essential. It will be controversial because we are running a system where any change in policy can become controversial."
"...The total production is not enough to satisfy total demand. We are importing coal at the margin at a cost two- three times the domestic...More coal you extract from these capacities more coal you will save on the import front. From a national point of view it is utter nonsense to say that we shouldn't do that," he said.
"Now because we are seeing that it attracts controversy, the way we do it, it should be done in a completely transparent manner where people can see there is a national interest being served and it is not something which is being done behind the curtain or in a non transparent manner," he added.
A Committee headed by the Planning Commission Member B K Chaturvedi Committee is looking on the issue of use of surplus coal and expected to submit its report by the end of this month to the Coal Ministry.