States opposed coal block bidding idea: Jaiswal

Last Updated: Wednesday, August 22, 2012 - 20:23

New Delhi: Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal on Wednesday said bidding process for coal block allocation could not be implemented due to stringent opposition from five coal-rich states like Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and West Bengal.

Asserting that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh could not be held responsible in any manner on this issue, he said: "Five states -- Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha and West Bengal -- had strongly opposed to the idea introduction of coal block allocation through the bidding route".

Though the concept of allocation of captive coal blocks through competitive bidding was first mooted in 2004, the modus operandi is yet to be finalised by the government.

Government auditor CAG had earlier this week said private firms are likely to gain a whopping Rs 1.86 lakh crore from allocation of 57 coal blocks without competitive bidding between 2005 and 2009.

"Delay in introduction of the process of competitive bidding has rendered the existing process beneficial to the private companies. Audit has estimated financial gains to the tune of Rs 1.86 lakh crore likely to accrue to private coal block allottees," the CAG report had said.

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) arrived at the estimates based on the average cost of production and average sale price of opencast mines of Coal India in 2010-11.

Stating that the Coal Ministry tried but in vain to bring the erring states on board on the issue, Jaiswal said states had opposed the bidding idea as they apprehended this would impact industrial activity as coal would become costlier.

Jaiswal criticised the Opposition for creating ruckus in the Parliament and said that given a chance, he would bring forth the real picture.

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, August 22, 2012 - 17:06

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