Holding coal bearing states, including those ruled by BJP, responsible for coal block allocations, Narayansami said about 90% work relating to allotment is vested with the states
Bhubaneswar: V Narayansami, Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) on Thursday said Centre is examining demands for including coal block allocations made during the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) rule within purview of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe, reports PTI.
"There are demands from various quarters to include coal block allocations made during BJP-led NDA rule from 1999 to 2004. Union Coal Ministry is looking into it," he said.
Maintaining that Centre had taken pro-active step by ordering probe into the allocations in March 2012, much before CAG gave its report, he alleged BJP is finding CBI probe "inconvenient as it fears that its own leaders would be exposed."
Dismissing BJP's demand for SIT probe into the alleged irregularities in coal blocks distribution, Narayansami said CBI is very much an independent agency with a reputation for impartiality, making many states recommend for probe by it.
"Action will be taken against anyone found guilty in CBI probe ... including chief ministers, ministers or officials," he said.
Holding coal bearing states, including those ruled by BJP, responsible for coal block allocations, Narayansami said about 90% work relating to allotment, starting from sending recommendations to endorsing and executing the allocation, is vested with the states.
Stating that 39 coal blocks were allocated during BJP-led NDA rule without following any guidelines or transparent policy, he said when UPA came to power the prime minister sought allocation of coal in a transparent way.
When views of states were sought, states like Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and West Bengal opposed auction mode, he said, adding that coal bearing states were party to allocation as the screening committee included their chief secretaries.
Slamming BJP for making an "unreasonable, unethical and unfair" demand for resignation of the Prime Minister, Narayansami said nowhere in the CAG report there is any mention about "any scam in coal allocation."
"The name of Prime Minister also does not figure, it was UPA government which framed guidelines and procedures for coal block allotment in 2005," he said.
He said before demanding Prime Minister's resignation, the BJP should ask its chief ministers to resign for their "role" in coal block allocation.
He also accused BJP of "forgetting" that its chief ministers had "strongly opposed" auction mode for allocations.
Hitting out at BJP for stalling Parliament over the issue, Narayansami said the impasse prevented passage of several important bills and discussion on burning issues.
Accusing BJP of "destabilise the government and nation" by blocking proceedings in the Parliament, Narayansami said government as well as most political parties, including many NDA allies, were in favour of debate on the coal issue.
"Now BJP is no more seeking prime minister's resignation but wants cancellation of coal block allocations," he said.
Rejecting the demand for cancellation of allocations, the Union minister said it would be unfair and unethical to do so in view of time spent and investments already made.
Goa government’s soft pedalling on the issue comes as an unexpected stand considering the magnitude of the ore illegally extracted from encroachments touted to be about Rs35,000 crore
Panaji: Following Justice MB Shah Commission report on illegal iron ore mining in Goa, the state government is apparently non-committal on recovering a whopping Rs35,000 crore from the mine owners who illegally plundered the resources, reports PTI.
In its report, Shah Commission has pointed out around 100 encroachments outside the mining lease areas by the companies which extracted large sums of ore between 2006 to 2010.
The commission's report, tabled in Parliament last week, quantified the total extraction of ore from these encroachments to Rs35,000 crore.
The judicial panel has recommended that the money should be recovered by the state from the mine owners.
However, state Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, who has been on an action taking spree against the officials involved in illegal mining operations, has remained silent over the recovery of money from the mine operators.
"We are still examining the report (of Shah Commission)," he said, responding to a question on recovery.
"We will impose penalty on the mining firms which have encroached upon the revenue (government) lands," he added.
The state government's soft pedalling on the issue comes as an unexpected stand considering the magnitude of the ore illegally extracted from these encroachments.
Amid all this, the Parrikar government had suspended seven officials from state mines and geology department within hours of the Union Mines Ministry tabling the Shah Commission report in Parliament on 7th September.
Also, all the 90 odd mining leases were suspended, asking the owners to submit the relevant documents before mines and geology department.
The mining outside the lease area, which is a blatant violation of the law, was done in 2,796.24 hectares area, of which the actual extraction happened in 578 hectares.
Shah Commission records indicate that still 2,222 ha of land is left untouched, but encroached by the mine owners.
Over the years, total 1,273 million metric tonnes of ore was extracted from these illegal encroachments worth Rs35,000 crore.
Shah commission had recommended that the state government should take immediate action to recover market cost of the iron ore illegally extracted after having proven estimation or others from outside the leased areas with exemplary penalty, along with criminal cases is filed against the lessees and department officials.
"The cost incurred due to estimation should be recovered from the extractors," it has added.
Mere growth of the middle class is not a comfort unless there is an upward movement in the percentage of population which is able to access the minimum comforts of life