‘Demand for scrapping coal blocks illegal’
New Delhi: Government on Wednesday rejected as "impossible" and "illegal" BJP`s demand for cancelling the allocation of all coal blocks "blindly".
Union Minister Jairam Ramesh, who was fielded by Congress at the AICC briefing, sought to puncture the Opposition claims that action on the issue was taken due to its pressure and said the move to identify the bonafides of coal allottees was initiated in January and not because of BJP protests or CAG report.
"Nothing was done without the knowledge and approval of the state governments. I don`t think there is a single incident when the screening committee allotted a mine against the approval and knowledge of the state," Ramesh said.
He said action will be taken against the coal companies after the IMG report is out "within a matter of days" and the report will be "available in public domain".
"The report of the IMG is going to be very crucial because the IMG will for the first time establish why a particular company has not produced coal even after four-five years. It is expected to come out with its report", Ramesh said.
When pointed out that the IMG was set up in April-May, Ramesh said the exercise to identify the bonafides of the allottees was initiated by a group in January itself, which was later formalised with the setting up of the IMG.
Posing a questionnaire of "eight inconvenient truths" to BJP, Ramesh said a number of BJP ministers had objected to changing the system of allocating coal blocks to private companies by competitive bidding.
He also alleged BJP Chief Minister of Jharkhand Arjun Munda and BJD Chief Minister of Orissa Naveen Patnaik had written letters to the Centre recommending allocation of blocks to companies which are now being called "tainted firms".
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