Cong accuses Naveen of adopting double standard in coal scam

Congress claimed that Odisha government had strongly recommended allotment of coal blocks to private companies.

Bhubaneswar: Accusing Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik of adopting double standard over coal scandal, Congress on Sunday claimed that the state government had strongly recommended allotment of coal blocks to private companies and opposed allocation through auction.

Announcing party`s plan to gherao the state assembly on September 6 to protest corruption and farmers` plight, Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee President Niranjan Patnaik said the chief minister was trying to mislead people after being exposed on the coal issue.

"After it was exposed that he played a direct role in coal block allotment in Odisha, Naveen is now trying to mislead people by making a false claim that Odisha government always favoured auction process," Patnaik told reporters.

Even the letters written by the chief minister to the Centre recommending allotment of coal blocks to private companies have been made public, he said adding "Naveen also opposed allotment of coal blocks to government agencies.

The state government officials also strongly pleaded in favour of private companies before the screening committee for coal block allotment, the OPCC chief said asking the BJD government to give details about the private companies which were favoured by it during the last 12 years.

"If the state government is really transparent and honest, let it prove it by opting for auction process for allotment of coal blocks," Patnaik said demanding a CBI probe into all the mining scam in the state.

Similarly, land allotted to some private companies and industrial groups had been mortgaged by the allottees for huge bank loans which in turn were invested outside Odisha causing loss to the state, he claimed.

Stepping up the party`s attack on the ruling BJD, Patnaik as well as leader of opposition Bhupinder Singh accused Naveen government of failing to safeguard the interest of the farmers. "The BJD government has failed to distribute fertilisers and seeds properly to the farmers, worsening their plight," the Congress leaders said.

"In order to remove the mask of honesty used by Naveen and expose failure of BJD government, Congress workers will stage a rally and gherao the state assembly building on September 6," they said.