Guwahati/Shillong: Union Power Minister Veerappa Moily on Monday claimed there was no scandal in coal block allocation and attacked the BJP for stalling Parliament on the issue.
"The coal block allocation was done in consultation with the chief ministers of states. There is no scandal and the BJP is unnecessarily raking up the the issue and stalling Parliament," Moily told reporters during his visit to Assam and Meghalaya to review the power situation in those two states.
"Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is a person of highest integrity and he is a reformer and the BJP has wrong by raising doubts about his honesty," Moily said.
He warned that de-allocation of coal blocks could retard power production in the country which would finally result in the lowering of GDP growth.
Allocation of coal blocks to private sectors had been done, he pointed out, after taking into consideration their `massive` contribution in power generation and through a process of competitive bidding.
Defending the allocation of blocks, Moily said any action now could affect the economy of the country. The ratio of power to GDP growth of a country is 1:1.5.
"If you want 9 per cent GDP growth, you ought to produce 8 per cent of power and if you aspire 10 per cent GDP growth, your power production should be at 9 per cent, Moily explained.
Cautioning that the UPA Government would not be cowed down by the Opposition’s move to `sabotage` the development plan, Moily said, “We will not be cowed down by such a conspiracy to bring the country down. Our party is for the national growth."
We spent 60 years to be able to grow at 9 per cent annually. May be we would need another 80 years to come back if this kind of sabotage develops, he warned during his interaction with reporters in Shillong.
He said, “The BJP will face the music like they did in 1982 by winning only two Parliament seats. If they cannot be responsible as a constructive Opposition, they have no business to be in Power again."
He said, “The contribution of Power by private sectors in the 10th Plan was a mere 20 per cent but by the end of the 11th Plan, private sectors contributed a massive 55 per cent power.”
The 54,000 MW of power generated during the 11th Plan is comparable to the power generation of the 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th Plan put together, he pointed out.
“During this time, the capacity of state sectors has come down to 17 per cent and the central sector to 24 per cent,” he said.
Projecting power production of 88,000 MW of power in the 12th Plan, Moily said, “Power generation could come down to a mere 20 per cent of 30,000 MW if coal blocks are de-allocated,” adding that coal contributes about 60 per cent of power generation capacity.
Defending the government’s decision on FDI in multi-brand retail, Moily said in Shillong, "It is a strong decision that we have taken and this is going to transform the entire economic scenario in India."
He said consumers should get competitive rates and farmers should also get a matching price for their produce.
"We will be second by 2013 ... And this cannot be achieved by only raising interest by the RBI. It has to be done by announcing multi-brand retail and other strong decisions that we (UPA) have taken," he said.
The minister termed Trinamool Congress chief Mamata
Banerjee’s 72-hour deadline to the UPA government to withdraw its decisions to hike diesel prices, cap subsidised LPG cylinders and allow FDI in multi-brand retail as an ``argumentative decision prevailing in a noisy democracy``.
"One thing we should not forget, the argumentative India we all live in ... A noisy democracy, but ultimately we (UPA) survive out of everything," Moily said.
Asked if the Congress would succumb to Mamata`s tactics, Moily replied, "It is not a question of succumbing to this and that, but we are living with our democracy."
On the controversy surrounding the construction of lower Subansiri power project in Arunachal Pradesh, the Union minister said in Guwahati that the government was open for talks with the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samity and the influential All Assam Students Union (AASU.
The minister admitted that a power crisis in general was prevailing in the country and assured that steps being taken to improve the situation.