CAG, in its report tabled in the Parliament, said that the allocation of coal blocks to private firms, after recommendation by a screening committee of central government was non-transparent. CAG said that Coal Ministry did not implement any competitive bidding which could have brought additional revenue for the government. CAG further observed that the non-transparent allocation of coal blocks led to a notional loss of Rs 1, 86,000 crore to the exchequer.
It is learnt that the central government will now make letters from Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and West Bengal government as the mode of defense to tackle the opposition’s allegations.
Starting with the letter written on April 11, 2005 by the then Chief Minister of Rajasthan, Vasundhra Raje (of BJP) wrote to Prime Minister opposing introduction of bidding process for coal block allocation. Raje, in her letter to the prime minister, said that the bidding of coal blocks is against Sarkaria Commission recommendations, which gives power to state governments of recommendation for coal block allocation. Fearing that the state government will lose all powers in coal block allocation, the then Rajasthan government opposed competitive bidding of coal blocks.
Similarly another BJP ruled state, Chhattisgarh, said in 2005 that the competitive bidding involves production sharing and bidding will increase the cost of coal. Hence, prices of steel and cement would go up. On 28th March 2005, Chhattisgarh Chief Secretary K Vijayavargiya wrote to coal secretary P C Parakh opposing the competitive bidding of coal mines.
The left parties who are now one of the most vocal against the coal block allocation through screening committee opposed the bidding process in 2005. On March 31, 2005 the then Chief secretary of West Bengal (ruled by Left parties then) said that the state government favours allocation of coal block through screening committee. The West Bengal government said that the screening committee takes care of decentralization of allocation. This government is represented by the chief secretary Asok Gupta, who essentially asked the Coal Secretary in center in the same year not to implement bidding process for coal allocation.
Responding to the news, BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said, “It was a consultation process. The letter from Raman Singh (Chhattisgarh CM) only wanted that the existing industry should not be disturbed. And if competitive bidding is introduced then the state government should get share of the revenue.”
It looks like both – opposition and the government – are not ready to budge by the allegation and counter allegation. However, what looks certain is that the CAG storm is likely to continue to disrupt the Parliament proceeding in the next few days.
ABOUT CAG REPORT ON COAL SCAM:
CAG: PRESENT ALLOCATION PROCESS NON TRANSPARENT
CAG report says noncompetitive bidding of coal blocks led to losses to central exchequer
CAG report says coal block allocation through screening committee is non-transparent
CAG says central government lost Rs.1.86 lakh crore because of non-transparent allocation of coal
CAG said that competitive bidding of coal blocks would have earned more revenue for government
Congress led UPA Government in Center says that BJP and NDA ruled states opposed competitive bidding
2005: LEFT RULED WEST BENGAL OPPOSED BIDDING OF COAL BLOCKS
On March 31, 2005 WB Chief Secretary Asok Gupta wrote to Coal Secretary
In 2005 WB government chief secretary letter opposed any bidding process for coal allocation
WB government favored allocation of coal block through screening committee
WB government said screening committee takes care of decentralization of allocation
2005: RAJASTHAN CM WROTE TO PM AGAINST COMPETITIVE BIDDING
On April 11, 2005 Rajasthan CM wrote to Prime Minister opposing bidding
Rajasthan government didn’t wanted competitive bidding of coal blocks
Rajasthan Government feared that the state government will have no say in coal allocation
Vasundhra Raje said bidding of coal is against Sarkaria Commission norms
2005: CHHATTISGARH GOVERNMENT FEARED COMPETITIVE BIDDING WILL PUSH UP PRICES
Chhattisgarh Chief Secretary on 28th March 2005 wrote to coal secretary
K Vijayavargiya Chief Secretary of Chhattisgarh government opposed competitive bidding of coal mines
Chhattisgarh government in 2005 said that competitive bidding involves production sharing
Chhattisgarh government said that competitive bidding will increase cost of coal
Chhattisgarh Chief Secretary said that bidding of coal blocks will make steel projects unviable