Panel probes coal block illegalities in Odisha

Panel probes coal block illegalities in Odisha  Bhubaneswar: A parliamentary panel Saturday examined the alleged coal block irregularities in Odisha, an official said.

A seven-member team of the public accounts committee arrived here Friday evening, and held discussions with top officials of the state and of the Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd, a unit of state-run Coal India, in state capital Bhubaneswar.

"The committee has come to look into the audit report which is in the public domain, related to coal block allocations and water conservation," panel member and senior Biju Janata Dal leader Bhartruhari Mahtab told reporters.

Other members of the panel include members of the Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Shiv Sena and Communist Party of India (Marxist).

Although senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi is the chairman of the public accounts committee, he was not present in Bhubaneshwar Saturday, a senior state official told IANS.

The public accounts committee has been examining reports submitted by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) on alleged illegalities in different sectors, including coal and power.

In a recent report, the CAG had said that private players stood to make windfall gains of Rs. 1.86 lakh crore from the 142 coal blocks allocated to them in the country.

IANS