Home India Politics Opposition shying from debating coal blocks: PMO minister

Opposition shying from debating coal blocks: PMO minister


New Delhi : The government Tuesday attacked the opposition for blocking parliament over the Comptroller and Auditor General’s (CAG) report on coal blocks and said the opposition was shying away from a debate on the issue.

“Why is the opposition shying away from a debate on the issue of coal block allocations? We are ready to discuss the issue,” Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) V. Narayanasamy told IANS.

Both houses of parliament were adjourned Tuesday after the opposition disrupted proceedings in the houses seeking resignation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The CAG report on coal blocks has said that the government delayed the auction of coal blocks and private players benefitted to the tune of Rs.1.86 lakh crore as allocations were made through discretionary allotment during 2005-2009.

According to Narayanasamy, the CAG report would now be examined by the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) headed by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Murli Manohar Joshi.

Narayanasamy said the opposition was trying to score political points by disrupting parliament without waiting for the PAC report.

“This is only a presumptive loss (of Rs.1.86 lakh crore) and not the actual figure,” Narayanasamy told IANS.

The minister came out against Comptroller and Auditor General of India Vinod Rai and said: “The CAG cannot question the policies of the government. It can look only into the accounting part.”

According to the minister, two BJP-ruled states – Rajasthan under Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and Chhattisgarh under Chief Minister Raman Singh – besides West Bengal under the Left Front government, had earlier written to the central government opposing the auction of coal blocks.

The minister further said that the states were kept in the loop in all coal block allocations as chief secretaries of the coal-bearing states were part of the screening committee, which included coal and power secretaries.

Narayanasamy charged the National Democratic Alliance government of giving away 24 coal blocks in 2003 arbitrarily without even inviting applications from private players.

He added that the United Progressive Alliance government followed due procedure of issuing advertisements and inviting applications before the screening panel gave approvals for the coal blocks.