Union Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal on Friday defended actions by the Central Government following presentation of the CAG report on coal block allocation in Parliament, saying UPA adopted the best mechanism at the time of auction.
Jaiswal expressed his disagreement with the CAG's evaluation of coal blocks allocation.
"We don't agree with CAG's evaluation of coal blocks allocation. The policy chosen by the government was most appropriate at that time. Allocation was the best policy for rapid coal extraction," said Jaiswal.
"Coal blocks were allocated to spur economic growth. The government has to take care of country's 1.25 billion people. The private players were allowed to meet growing demand for coal," he added.
Asserting that the UPA Government adopted the most transparent process during allocation of coal blocks, Jaiswal said: "The most transparent process was adopted. Auction of coal was based on transparent committee. Top officers of states were involved in coal blocks allocation."
"Only one out of the 57 mines for which CAG has objected is operational," he added, while raising objections to the CAG report on coal scam.
Jaiswal also took potshots at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for holding Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh responsible and demanding his resignation.
"The opposition's demands for the Prime Minister's resignation is meaningless," he said.
Senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj earlier in the day demanded that Prime Minister should tender his resignation following the CAG report on coal scam tabled in Parliament today, which states that nearly 150 coal fields were allotted to private and state-run firms without transparency and objectivity between 2005 and 2009.
Sushma Swaraj said that the Prime Minister couldn't put the onus on anyone since he held charge of the Coal Ministry for part of that period.
"Manmohan Singh is directly responsible. This time he can't blame someone else. UPA's term has been full of scams and each scam is bigger than the previous one," she said.
The CAG report on coal block allocation states that nearly 150 coalfields were allotted to private and state-run firms without transparency and objectivity between 2005 and 2009.
The report does not indict the Prime Minister or his office, but the BJP is emphasizing on the fact that for three of the years under scrutiny, the Prime Minister held direct charge of the Coal Ministry. (ANI)