Jaiswal challenges BJP leaders to prove coal block allegations

Last Updated: Tuesday, September 11, 2012 - 23:21

Lucknow: Challenging BJP leaders to prove their allegations against him in the coal block allocation issue, Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal on Tuesday said they were free to visit his office to collect any information.

"An attempt is being made to create confusion... It is my challenge that I will be in the office tomorrow, they come and take all information after that either they should have to apologise to the country or I will," Jaiswal told reporters here.

He alleged that BJP spokesman Ravi Shankar Prasad has levelled false allegations that allocation started after Sriprakash Jaiswal became the coal minister.

"Today BJP spokesman Ravi Shankar Prasad once again started the business of falsification. He gave the statement that coal block allocation (has happened) after Sriprakash Jaiswal became the coal minister," he said.

"In this connection I want to claim and also give a challenge, first thing total 195 blocks were allotted from 1993 till regime of UPA I, which had been replied in the Parliament question several times," he said.

"Was 196th block allotted? If not, then those indulging into face saving and politics should get rid of their habit," he said.

He said not once but several times, it has been said that no allocation was done after 2009.

"Due to election process if allocation process cannot go ahead, it was issued by the signature of the under secretary. But approval of all allocations were taken with the permission from the competent authority and screening committee in the regime of UPA I...After that no one had the courage to allot a single block," he said.

The minister said efforts were being made to level another allegation that one Manoj Kumar Jaiswal, to whom several blocks were allotted, was his relative.

"My first question is that when as the coal minister when I did not allocate even a single block, then what is... relative and non-relative," he said.

"One more demand has been raised by the BJP spokesperson that there should be SIT probe. When CBI is investigating, inter-ministerial group is investigating then what is the meaning of SIT inquiry" Jaiswal said.

He said that SIT probes are done as per orders of the court. "If any person has any doubt, he can move the court," he said.

Jaiswal said the main reason behind coal block allocation was that the UPA government led by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh wanted to accelerate the growth of the country and expedite the industrialisation process.

"He (Singh) has the realisation that until and unless coal was available in the country, power is not there, industrial production of the country would not increase. He also has the realisation that Coal India is unable to fulfill the coal requirement of the country. The manner in which demand of coal was increasing, CIL would not be able to fulfil it," he said.

Jaiswal alleged the objective was similar when previous governments including the one by NDA allocated 32 blocks, of which 16 were given to private sector.

"In UPA I, efforts were made to make it more transparent... An idea was mooted that why it was not done through bidding process and those who opposed it are today making efforts to level allegations on the government," he alleged.

He said the fact was that if there would have been a debate in the Parliament, reality would have come out.

"This is the reason shying from the debate baseless allegations are levelled infront of the media," he alleged.

On loss estimates by the CAG, Jaiswal alleged the basis on which this was done was wrong.

"I have said this 10 times that the basis on which this was done on comparative basis with CIL by CAG is totally wrong," he said.

The minister said it is unfortunate that aspersions were being cast over the Prime Minister who was a person of high integrity.

"In fact, the PM took an initiative to make the process transparent," he claimed.

Jaiswal said that a mechanism was being prepared for bidding process.

"It can be said that why it was taking so long, but efforts are being made that the mechanism should be so transparent that no one can raise finger in the future," he said.


First Published: Tuesday, September 11, 2012 - 17:49
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