No loss in coal block allocations, says Govt

NEW DELHI — The government on Friday rejected its auditor’s report on allocation of coal blocks in which it has indicated $37 billion loss to the exchequer, saying the notion of presumptive loss is flawed.


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Published: Sat 25 Aug 2012, 11:29 PM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 9:54 AM

“If the coal is not being mined, there is no question of gain or loss... the notion of this presumptive loss is flawed,” Finance Minister P Chidambaram said at a joint press conference here with Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal.

Chidambaram said there has been hardly any mining of coal from the allocated blocks which are taken into consideration by the auditor. “As long as coal remain in mother earth there is no loss,” he said. Out of the 57 blocks considered by the CAG, mining was carried out in only block. The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) last week revealed that lack of transparency in the allocation of coal blocks to private players resulted in the loss of a whopping $37 billion to the exchequer.

Jaiswal said the government didn’t agree with the CAG assessment. “We don’t agree with the CAG report,” he said.

Jaiswal said that he had asked the CAG to consult coal ministry official before preparing the final report. “But the CAG did not consult our officials,” he said.

He said the CAG also did not take into consideration the views of Attorney General and the Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) on coal mining.

Chidambaram said it was the UPA government which brought about a change in policy for transparency and for that it was now being blamed. “If you did nothing you will not be blamed; if you tried to change you will be blamed — is that the standard by which we will conduct our public affairs,” he asked.

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