“Natural resource can't be gifted away at throwaway prices”

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) on Thursday demanded that the government table in Parliament the report of the Comptroller and Auditor-General, whose draft report has estimated a loss of Rs. 10.67 lakh crore to the exchequer in allocation of 155 coal blocks without competitive bidding by the UPA government between 2004 and 2009.

In a statement, the Polit Bureau said that based on the report action should be immediately taken to recover the losses.

While the exchequer suffered loss, windfall gains of Rs. 4.79 lakh crore accrued to a number of private companies. “Coal, being a natural resource, cannot be gifted to private corporations at throwaway prices. The Supreme Court has reiterated this principle in the recent 2G judgment that the state, as a custodian of the country's natural resources, cannot sell it off without transparent and competitive bidding,” the CPI(M) said.

“While allocating coal blocks to public sector power utilities, which play a social role by providing electricity at reasonable rates, is understandable, such enormous largesse showered on profit-making private companies is nothing but a huge scam. It is disturbing that these blocks were allocated at a time when the Prime Minister was in charge of the Coal Ministry.”

Coming after the 2G, CWG, KG gas and Air India scandals, this was yet another misdeed of the scam-ridden UPA government. “All these scams are outcomes of the big business-corrupt politician-bureaucrat nexus which has flourished under the neoliberal policy regime,” the CPI(M) said.

Earlier, the Rajya Sabha could not take up question hour as the Opposition wanted its suspension to discuss the draft CAG report.

Keywords: coal scam

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