CAG counters govt criticism on coal block allocation report

However,the CAG,Vinod Rai refused to jump into the debate.

Written by ENS Economic Bureau | New Delhi | Published: August 29, 2012 12:49:07 am

Countering arguments that its concept of ‘presumptive loss’ is faulty in its audit report on coal blocks allocation,an official from the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) on Tuesday said it is incorrect to assume minimal loss on the grounds that production in the mines had not yet started.

“Once the captive coal block holders have been allocated the coal blocks,the right to mine vests with the holder. The captive coal block holders gain during the intervening period as well since the value of the coal that they have ‘hoarded’ boosts the valuation of their companies,” a CAG official pointed out.

However,the CAG,Vinod Rai refused to jump into the debate. “Being a Constitutional authority,the C&AG feels that it would be improper on his part to join a public debate on this issue. It is hereby stated that the organisation of C&AG would clarify on the report at the appropriate forum when required,” an official statement from the CAG said.

Parliament has been stalled for six days since the country’s top auditor tabled a report on coal block allocation in which it estimated that Rs 1.86 lakh crore ‘undue benefit’ went to private firms that were been allocated coal blocks without auction since 2004.

Facing heat from the Opposition parties,the Congress-led UPA government has called the report flawed and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in a 32-page rebuttal on Monday questioned the CAG findings on coal blocks allocation describing them as ‘disputable.’

Cancellation of coal blocks not right: Godrej

CII president Adi Godrej on Tuesday said that cancellation of the current coal block allocations may not be the right step as “it will negatively impact business sentiments,particularly in sectors like power which are already hard hit by the lack of coal supplies”. Godrej called for “transparent fixing of eligibility criteria that is non-discriminatory and with an aim to promote sustainable mining”.

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