Union Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal said today that the Oppositions demand for cancellation of coal block allocations was a conspiracy to protect the allottees.
This seems to be the BJPs strategy. Most of the coal blocks were given on the recommendation of their state governments. If anybodys coal block is de-allocated without going to the screening committee or the inter-ministerial group,all these de-allottees would then have the option to go to courts and get a stay. The consequences of de-allocation will not be easy. We want to study each coal block and its performance as to what milestone they have achieved against the target. On that basis,there will be de-allocation or even forfeiture of bank guarantee,if needed, Jaiswal said at a press briefing here.
He said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had asked him for a time-bound report by the inter-ministerial group (IMG) that is reviewing coal block allocations. The IMG is likely to submit its report by September 15. He said that stringent action will be taken against companies which are yet to start production even after the lapse of time. Not only will their coal block be de-allocated but they will also be behind bars, he said.
Asserting there could be no policy better than the one followed by the UPA government,Jaiswal said: The UPA I & II cannot get implicated because it is led by somebody who never committed any mistake.
Justifying the governments policy,he said that opening a coal block is not like opening a restaurant because the areas in which they are located are not easy in terms of law and order situation and there are other issues like environmental clearance.
Dismissing allegations about his relatives having got coal blocks,he said: As far as it concerns somebody close to me,there are lakhs of people who are close to me. As far as the issue is about a relative,every Jaiswal is my relative. When there was no allocation during my tenure,why is this attempt to embroil me? That company was given its first during the NDA regime.