AG audit team begins scrutiny ahead of PAC visit

Last Updated: Fri, Oct 26, 2012 19:10 hrs

Ahead of the visit of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the Parliament, a team from the office of the Accountant General (Odisha) has started process of verification of records in respect of recommendations made by the state government for coal blocks.

The team led by audit officer P K Hazary will take up scrutiny of records relevant to coal blocks.

“The team from the accountant general's office has already started its work related to examining records related to recommendations for coal blocks. The team has been mandated to collect the necessary information for the PAC panel and its work will be completed by October 31,” said a source at steel & mines department.

The PAC will reach Odisha on November 2 and hold discussions with the chief secretary the next day. The committee will examine the procedure followed by the state government in recommending coal blocks for private as well as PSU firms. Besides, the panel will check the status of coal blocks allocated to Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL). The panel will take up scrutiny on the basis of the findings of the Comptroller & Auditor General of India (CAG) on coal block allocations made between 2005 and 2009. It will also take stock of the extent of water pollution in rivers in Odisha.

After CAG pointed out glaring irregularities in award of coal blocks, an inter-ministerial group of ministers of the Centre has recommended de-allocation of the New Patrapada coal block allocated in January 2006 jointly to Bhusan Steel, Adhunik Metaliks, Deepak Steel and Odisha Sponge Iron. The IMG has recommended bank guarantee encashment in case of Radhikapur (east) coal block allocated to Tata Sponge Iron, Scaw Industries and SPS Sponge Ltd in July 2006.

Moreover, the sale of Rampia and dip side Rampia coal block by Navabharat Power to Essar Power had come under the scanner. Chief minister Naveen Patnaik had also courted controversy for recommending coal blocks in favour of Jindal Steel & Power Ltd (JSPL). The recommendation for coal blocks were made by Patnaik even before the signing of memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the company. It may be noted that as many as 22 coal blocks were allocated to private firms and state controlled entities in Odisha between 2005 and 2009, including two blocks for implementing coal-to-liquid projects.

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