NEW DELHI: The Coal Ministry Saturday rejected as “unfounded and baseless” the allegations in regard to the allocation of coal blocks.
Noting that coal blocks by and large were situated in Orissa, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, the Ministry said the state governments were “fully involved in the allotment process and consented to the allotments made”.
Rejecting the BJP’s suggestion that there was any “rush” in coal allotments, the release issued here Saturday said the allotment of coal blocks was only through a mechanism whereby applications were received and scrutinised by an inter-ministerial Screening Committee, which included representatives of the state governments, where the coal block was situated.
The process of inviting applications and their processing was done in “a completely transparent manner” and more importantly, not a single coal block was allotted without the consent of the state government concerned.
Stating that the UPA Government was of the view that a more objective system for allotting coal blocks was needed due to increasing coal demand, it said as the existing law did not permit auction of coal blocks, efforts were initiated in early 2005 itself to amend the law. However, in main the delay in finalisation of a draft bill in this regard was the objection of the trade unions and governments of coal bearing states.
“Eventually, it was agreed that the entire proceeds from theauction would accrue to the relevant State Government and the draftbill was moved in Parliament in 2008,” the release said addingthat the amendmentst could be passed only in 2010.
“Necessary mechanisms are being put in place in order to operationalise the new procedure.”
The Coal Ministry said it has been monitoring strictly the progress made by companies in developing the allotted coal blocks and wherever the performance was found to be unsatisfactory, action was initiated against the allottees.
In all, 24 coal blocks have been de-allocated based on such reviews, it stated.