New Delhi: Coal Minister Piyush Goyal has sought an update on missing coal block allocation files and ordered "micro-filming" of all documents to prevent such problems in the future.
"I have asked for a report to be given to me on exact status of which files are still missing...I would like to go to the bottom of it and also asked them to draw up a plan for micro-filming of all documents going forward so that in future we don't have to face such a problem," he said.
Several files, applications and documents pertaining to the coal block allocations are missing. The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG), the government auditor, had alleged a notional loss of Rs 1.86 lakh crore on account of allotting mines to private firms without auctioning them.
"I did flag off the issue with the ministry officials and I was informed that most of the files are now in place," Goyal told a private news channel.
Goyal had raised a privilege issue against the then Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal in Parliament.
Proceedings in Parliament had been stalled repeatedly last year due to protests by the opposition after the CAG report and also over the missing files.
The CBI is probing 195 coal block allocations and in 16 of these cases, it has found prima facie material which indicate cheating, criminal misconduct and corruption, based on which it has registered FIRs.
All these FIRs are rooted in three preliminary enquiries related to coal blocks allotted between 2006 and 2009, 1993 and 2004 and projects given under the government dispensation scheme.
Goyal said the Ministry of Coal has been through a difficult patch since 2010 on account of various issues, including classification of potential mining blocks as "go" and "no-go" areas, which badly affected coal output.
"The coal ministry has had some difficult times, particularly since 2010, when the 'go' and 'no-go' areas were introduced. After a huge hue and cry, it was removed only to be replaced by an inviolate areas policy," he said.
The minister said he had a meeting with Prakash Javadekar, Minister of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, and expressed hope that issues stalling coal block development would be sorted out.
"It was a very cordial meeting. We flagged off urgent issues and we found the response to be absolutely wonderful," he said.
On ensuring coal supply to power plants, he said efforts would be made to augment production and meet the shortfall through imports.
First Published: Monday, June 2, 2014, 19:42