Coalgate loss Rs 1.86 lakh crore: CAG
By Express News Service - NEW DELHI
18th August 2012 09:12 AM
The three much-anticipated CAG reports on coal, power and Delhi airport tabled in Parliament on Friday pinned the already beleaguered UPA Government down for causing the exchequer loss of crores of rupees.
The view was hotly contested by the Government, which said the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament was the right forum for a correct assessment of the CAG report, but the Opposition went for the kill, and asked for the Prime Minister’s resignation.
The Comptroller and Auditor General has estimated financial benefit of over Rs 3.06 lakh cr to private parties in coal blocks allotment without bidding, Delhi airport development and diversion of coal to a power project. The CAG has estimated a potential earning capacity of Rs 1,63,557 crore to DIAL (Delhi International Airport Ltd) in 58 years by getting the Delhi airport land on a concessional lease. Of this, GMR-led private consortium will get Rs 88,337 crore.
Among the three reports, what really got the BJP train the guns directly on Manmohan Singh was the allocation of 142 coal blocks to private firms without competitive bidding, between 2005 and 2009, at a projected loss of Rs 1.86 lakh core, which is more than the 2G scam.
According to the auditor, the private companies had a massive gain of Rs 1.85 lakh cr thanks to the low pricing of the coal blocks. If the plan to introduce competitive bidding had fructified, the public exchequer would have got part of the windfall.
The Coal Ministry was held by the PM during this period (because Sibu Soren had resigned).
The CAG report has several references to the PMO’s role in delaying a legislation, which would have ensured that the coal blocks were auctioned and not selectively allocated for ‘captive’ use. It also suggests that an executive order also could have paved the path for an auction. Though the Minister of State in PMO, V Narayansamy, accused the CAG of crossing its mandate, the Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj said this time the PM “can’t be shielded behind ministers, like A Raja, as he did during the 2G spectrum scam __ he was in charge.”
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