Minister for Coal, Sriprakash Jaiswal on Thursday said the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government had followed a completely transparent process including consultations with the State Governments for allocating coal mining blocks to private and public sector companies.
"Since coming to power in 2004, we (UPA) gave advertisements for allocation of coal blocks and invited applications. After the applications were received by the Coal Ministry, the State Governments were consulted and thereafter the coal blocks were allocated,’’ he told journalists outside Parliament.
Responding to the charge that Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) had estimated a loss of Rs. 10.67 lakh crore to the exchequer due to failure of the Government to auction coal blocks, Mr. Jaiswal said the coal blocks are allocated through a screening committee which is chaired by Secretary Coal. "We did not receive any report of CAG then how can we say whether its report is right or not,’’ he said when asked about the CAG loss estimates.
Mr. Jaiswal said between 1993 and 2004 scores of coal blocks were awarded without issuing any advertisements. The proposal for allocation of coal blocks through competitive bidding was mooted for the first time about three years ago. The government is framing guidelines and rules for the proposed competitive bidding for auction of coal blocks. "The guidelines on coal block are currently being examined. Views are also being sought from the concerned ministries on this and when the guidelines are ready then process of coal blocks auction would begin,’’ he added.