CPI-M wants cancellation of coal allocation, demand probe

Last Updated: Mon, Aug 27, 2012 10:49 hrs

New Delhi: The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) Monday asked the government to cancel all the coal block allocations found faulty by the official auditor and said they may be auctioned.

The Left parties also demanded a judicial probe into the issue.

"We want a judicial probe," said CPI MP Gurudas Dasgupta.

CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury refuted Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's claim that states like West Bengal had wanted the coal blocks to be allotted and not auctioned.

All the allocations made to private players since the Congress took power in 2004 should be cancelled, the Marxist leader told the media here.

"An auction may be done," he added.

He said none of the reasons advanced by the prime minister Monday explained why no transparent and competitive bidding process was introduced in the coal sector from June 2004 till August this year.

He said the West Bengal government, which was ruled by the Left until last year, had never opposed auction of coal blocks but only insisted that the state's interests should not be bartered away.

"We were never opposed to bidding but said the state's interest should not be bartered away... coal for public utilities and for private parties should be separated," Yechury said.

Yechury disputed the government claim that no economic loss had taken place because of the coal blocks allocation to the private players.

He said a similar argument was taken by the government when the second generation spectrum saga erupted. Subsequently, however, the government had to axe all licenses and go for fresh bidding.

Dasgupta termed the prime minister's statement as "lame duck" and "unworthy" and said he should not attack constitutional entities like the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG).

But the CPI leader clarified that he did not want Manmohan Singh to go, as this would mean the government would go and there would be mid-term polls.

He also denounced the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) for stalling the parliament over its demand for the prime minister's resignation, and said most parties wanted the parliament to function so the coal blocks issue could be debated.

"We denounce the way the parliament is being held up by the BJP... this sends a wrong signal to the people as majority parties want the parliament to function," he said.

"We want a discussion so we can pin down responsibility of the government over coal blocks allocation," said Dasgupta.

The Left leaders also charged that both the Congress and the BJP were working in tandem so people's issues like economic condition and price rise cOuld be taken up in parliament.

Addressing the reporters along with the Left leaders, Telugu Desam Party MP Nama Nageshwara Rao said the country suffered loss as bidding for coal blocks was not done and that the issue should be debated in the house.

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