Stepping up its offensive against the BJP,Government today said the Opposition party should ask its chief ministers to resign in the Coalgate row since the state governments decide who gets the mining lease.
“The basic question is that who executes the lease,” Union HRD Minister Kapil Sibal said,two days after the Centre made public letters written to it by BJP and other non- Congress state chief ministers strongly opposing auction of coal mines.
He said that if anyone should resign it should be the chief ministers of these states. BJP has been demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the Coalgate row.
“BJP men,who are levelling allegations,should be asked to get resignation of their CMs …they executed the lease,” he told a news conference.
“Because the responsibility was theirs (since) they executed the lease and decided that in whose favour it would be done,” he claimed.
The Congress leader put the onus on the states in the Coalgate row while referring to questions being raised on what basis allocation of coal blocks was done and that allegations are being levelled against Centre’s officers.
Sibal said that under Mines and Minerals (Regulation and Development Act) only the state governments have the right to execute lease.
“Centre has no right in it. If any person has objection to the lease executed in favour of a particular person or company,whose responsibility was it,” he added.
Sibal alleged that BJP was trying to create confusion of heavy financial losses having occurred in coal block allotment on the basis of the CAG report.
“The disputed coal blocks were allotted for use in power,steel and cement producing plants and not for sale.
When anything has not been sold then how can you calculate loss and profit,” he said.
Without taking names,Sibal alleged a Rajya Sabha leader had said there was no point in a debate on the issue in Parliament as the government has a majority and similar was the situation in the Public Accounts Committee and therefore the House should not be allowed to run.
“I believe that not allowing to function is a facist step,” he alleged.
In reply to a question,the minister said cancellation of coal block allotment would have an adverse impact on the power generation in the country.
He said it takes seven to eight years in making a coal block functional and if allotments were cancelled then it would take similar number of years to mine coal and in such a situation what would be the impact on coal-based economy.
Sibal alleged that BJP was demanding cancellation without knowing the nitty gritty of the economic system.
He said these were the important issues which could also be addressed when the Parliament was allowed to function.
In a reply to another question,the minister said he does not want to say that CAG was incompetent,but it was true that his mathematics of profit-loss was wrong.
On the reservation for SC/ST job promotion quota bill,Sibal said confusion was sought to be created and that the state governments would have the right to take a decision on giving any type of reservation.