"Delay in introduction of the process of competitive bidding has rendered the existing process beneficial to the private companies. Audit has estimated financial gains to the tune of Rs 1.86 lakh crore likely to accrue to private coal block allottees," according to the CAG report placed in Parliament today.
These mines were allocated between 2005 and 2009.
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) said it has arrived at the estimates based on the average cost of production and average sale price of opencast mines of Coal India in the year 2010-11.
"The government could have tapped a part of this financial benefit by expediting decision on competitive bidding for allocation of coal blocks," the report said.
It could have accrued to the national exchequer by operationalising the decision taken years earlier to introduce competitive bidding for allocation of coal blocks, it added.
Rejecting the report, Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal said, the "allocation process was totally transparent and the policy was right". However, if at all there is any irregularity, "then CBI is inquiring into the matter".
There was no specific criteria for allocation of coal blocks in the country till 1993. From 1993 onwards, Ministry of Coal started awarding blocks to private parties for captive mining on recommendations of the Inter-Ministerial Screening Committee or through direct allocation. (MORE)