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Allocation of coal mining blocks by Central government 'arbitrary', says Prakash Karat

Jammu , Sat, 24 Mar 2012 ANI

Jammu, Mar 24 (ANI): The General Secretary of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) Prakash Karatsaid on Saturday that Central government had adopted an 'arbitrary' approach in the allocation of coal mining blocks to commercial entities.

Karat told reporters here that the allocation of the blocks had not taken the commodity's market price into consideration.

"It is clear that the same method of allocation of a scarce natural resource, i.e., coal, has been done on an arbitrary basis, without any relation to the market value of that resource. So, we have to wait for the CAG report, but I am sure that it will show that the government and the country has lost a lot of revenue because of this policy," Karat said.

His comments came in the wake of the leaked draft of a report by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India, which criticised the criticized government for allocating 155 valuable coalfields to about 100 private and some state-run miners instead of auctioning them off to the highest bidder.

Proceedings in both Houses of Parliament were adjourned after news reports of CAG report titled 'Performance Audit of Coal Block Allocations' reportedly alleged the government of extending "undue benefits" of nearly Rs. 10.67 lakh crore to commercial entities while allotting 155 coal acreages without auction during the period of 2004-09.

The surfacing of the scam, said to be bigger than the 2G scam, once again gave the opposition an opportunity to corner the government in the ongoing parliament session.

It is reported that the over 100 private companies and public sector units from the power, steel and cement industries have benefited from this allocation.

The CAG, in a letter to Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, earlier clarified that the news report on the alleged loss to the exchequer was misleading. (ANI)

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