Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal on Tuesday said no coal block allocation had taken place after 2009. “Since 2009, no fresh coal block has been allocated to any company,” the minister told reporters here on Tuesday.
He, however, said letters to coal block allottees could not be issued during that time due to election, and the letters were issued by the undersecretary after obtaining sanctions from the “competent authority”.
Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad on Tuesday alleged Jaiswal had provided undue benefits to some companies after he became the coal minister.
“When no coal block has been allocated after 2009, where does the question of my complicity arise,” Jaiswal said and posed back a challenge to anyone to prove any wrongdoing on his part, even when he was a minister of state (MoS) during the first term of the United Progressive Alliance.
Since 1993, 195 coal blocks had been allocated to different companies, both public and private. “These coal blocks were allocated under different regimes, including UPA and NDA (National Democratic Front),” he said.
The BJP ruled states had opposed the idea of bidding process for coal blocks, when it was mooted by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Jaiswal added.
“Those who were opposed to the bidding process are now throwing wild allegations against the government without any proof and evidence and misleading the public,” he added.
He claimed 32 coal blocks were allocated under NDA regime, of which 16 were allocated to private sector companies.
“The prime minister has introduced two important aspects in coal blocks allocation for transparency. First, coal blocks can be given only after proper advertisement is carried and each coal block allottee has to furnish a bank guarantee,” he said.
Besides, he rejected the CAG’s comparative analysis of loss of Rs 1.86 lakh crore in coal blocks allocation as faulty. “Each coal block has different seam and the depth of availability of coal is also unlike. Therefore, two blocks cannot be compared for analysis.”