Blaming the principal opposition party the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Union Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Shukla said ihere that the BJP had run away from the debate over the competitive bidding for allocation of the coal mines in Parliament in order to save three of its chief ministers who had opposed the bidding. He said that this led to a Rs 111 crore loss to the exchequer, though all other opposition parties had agreed to the debate.
Referring to the CAG report that caused much uproar in Parliament, Shukla said that the standard procedure was that the CAG report is first submitted to the Public Accounts Committee, after which the PAC prepare a detailed report, which is to be discussed in the Parliament and not the CAG report. He said that the government was ready to debate the CAG report.
Shukla also questioned the figure of Rs 1.76 lakh crore cited for the loss. He said the projected loss is for another 35 years. He also said that out of the 56 coal blocks allocated, extraction is yet to start in 55, so the question of loss doesn’t arise.
Maintaining that the UPA government had only continued the policy adhered to by the BJP-led NDA, he asserted it was Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who had initiated the policy of competitive bidding in coal allocation in 2004, which was objected to by several chief ministers, including those from the BJP.
He said that the BJP chief ministers opposed the competitive bidding in their states and blamed the Centre to further avoid the debate.
Addressing a press conference here on Monday, Shukla said that it was for the first time that an Opposition party ran away from debate in Parliament., instead of forcing a debate on a contentious issue.
He was accompanied by the Congress in-charge for Punjab, Gulchain Singh Charak and Punjab Congress President Amarinder Singh.