Congress slams Chhattisgarh over coal blocks’ allocation


Raipur : The Congress Friday alleged that the Chhattisgarh government’s decision to allot two coal blocks to a private firm owned by BJP’s Rajya Sabha MP Ajay Sancheti resulted in a loss of Rs.50,000 crore to the state exchequer.

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The Congress accused the BJP government in the state of allocating the Shankarpur (Bhatgaon-II) and Extension coal blocks in Surguja district, which had been de-allocated, to an “inexperienced and ineligible” company.

In a press statement, Chhattisgarh Congress president Nandkumar Patel and leader of the opposition Ravindra Choubey said that the state would have earned Rs.50,000 crore in the next 32 years if it had mined coal from these two blocks instead of handing them over to a firm owned by BJP president Nitin Gadkari’s close aide Ajay Sancheti.

The Ministry of Coal had in its letter dated November 30 de-allocated the two coal blocks allocated to the Chhattisgarh Mineral Development Corporation (CMDC) and also forfeited 50 percent of the bank guarantee related to the development of the coal blocks.

The state Congress is chasing irregularities in coal blocks allocation since April after the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) pointed out a potential loss of Rs.1,052 crore after resulting from CMDC accepting Sancheti’s company for developing the coal blocks.

The state Congress has demanded that the CMDC be dissolved and a CBI inquiry be initiated into the entire deal to identify people who allegedly masterminded the irregularities.

Meanwhile, the Chhattisgarh government said that “the coal ministry had in its order cited the main reasons for de-allocation as unsatisfactory progress in forest and environment clearances and discrepancies in reported investments submitted to the coal controller and inter-ministerial group.”

The government claimed: We will present the ministry of coal with all facts at the earliest with a request to reconsider the decision and, if required, will approach a court of law”.