New Delhi, Sep 6 (ANI): Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh has dragged Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Nitin Gadkari into the coal block allocation scam.
Speaking to reporters here, Ramesh alleged that according to the Comptroller and Auditor General’s (CAG) report, the BJP-led Chhattisgarh Government allocated a coal block to Gadkari’s close associate and businessman Ajay Sancheti.
“There is a CAG report indicting the Chhattisgarh BJP government of losses. Two blocks were allocated for the Chhattisgarh Mineral development corporation. One block was allocated to an aide of Nitin Gadkari. There is a CAG report on it as well,” said Ramesh.
Ramesh said that a number of BJP Ministers had objected to changing the system of allocating coal blocks to private companies by competitive bidding.
“BJP Chief Minister of Jharkhand Arjun Munda and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had written letters to the Centre recommending allocation of blocks to companies which are now being called “tainted firms,” he added.
Ramesh further attacked the BJP and said that once, their Madhya Pradesh state chief had gone on a fast demanding land clearance from the central government for a coal mine.
“One chief minister went on fast in Bhopal against the stand of the then minister of environment and forests for not giving forest clearance to one of these coal mines. I would like to ask a question, what is that coal mine? In which category that coal mine figures today? Is it one of the coal mines that are been contested? The chief minister of Madhya Pradesh went on fast and wrote a letter to the prime minister saying that they should get quick clearance,” said Ramesh.
Ramesh further said that during the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance rule, coal blocks were allocated without advertisements and it was infact the Congress government which changed the process later.
“For six years from 1998 to 2004, 32 coal block were allocated. Not one or two but thirty-two. That was in the rule of the NDA. There was no clear policy or advertisement about the same. According to that very screening committee, 32 blocks were allocated. In 2005, during the UPA rule, there was major change in the procedure of the screening committee and for the first time, advertisements were adopted,” said Ramesh.
A report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), suggested private companies made windfall gains of about 33 billion dollars owing to the underpriced sale of coal fields between 2004 and 2009. (ANI)