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Cancel allocation of 142 coal blocks: Left, TDP

August 27, 2012 18:15 IST
Left parties and the Telugu Desam Party on Monday demanded cancellation of allocation of all the 142 coal blocks and a thorough enquiry into the matter and attacked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for his remarks against the CAG.

They also termed Dr Singh's statement on the issue as "extremely defensive" and contained "several distortions". Communist Party of India leader Gurudas Dasgupta went to the extent of accusing the PM of showing "disrespect" to the Constitution by attacking the CAG, but dismissed suggestions that he was seeking his resignation, a demand voiced by the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Dasgupta wanted a judicial enquiry headed by a sitting Supreme Court judge in the issue, while the CPI-M spoke of a thorough probe. At a joint press conference, leaders of the CPI-M, CPI, Revolutionary Socialist Party, Forward Bloc and TDP accused the Congress and the BJP of "match-fixing" and disrupting Parliament proceedings saying that a discussion on the issue would "expose" them both.

"It appears to be a case of match-fixing. It (disruption) suits both of them not to have a discussion on the issue. Otherwise, both will be exposed," CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury said.

"The government is abdicating its responsibility by allowing the BJP to disrupt the House. That shows they are hand-in-glove," he said.

Seeking a thorough probe into the entire allocation, he said, "We want a thorough probe into the entire allocation to find out who was responsible, howsoever highly placed the person might be, cancellation of all coal block allotments and a discussion in the House."

Terming the PM's statement as "extremely defensive and laboured", he said Dr Singh tried to "shift the entire blame on the state governments and the delay in the law-making process. There are several distortions in his statement".

Maintaining that a decision to make the bidding process transparent, accountable and competitive by framing rules was taken by the United Progressive Alliance-I government in June 2004, Yechury asked, "Till date, this modus operandi has not been worked out. Why?

"The PM does not explain why this eight-year delay took place. Instead, he blamed his own law department and accused the state governments for the delay."

Referring to Dr Singh's statement regarding opposition of the then Left Front government in West Bengal, Yechury quoted two letters from the state government of August 2009 and March 2010, saying it had "never opposed competitive bidding".

He said the Left Front had been insisting on the fact that "the interests of the states should not be bartered away to private companies" and coal blocks be allocated to state electricity boards, power PSUs and all public utility services.     
"What remains after that should be auctioned. That was the stand of the Left Front government."       
However, out of 20 coal blocks in West Bengal, only six were allotted to the state electricity board and 14 to private parties, the CPI-M leader said, demanding that coal royalty, which was now a "pittance", should be enhanced substantially.

CPI's Dasgupta castigated the BJP for bringing the Parliament to a halt, saying, "No single party can be allowed to impose its unilateral decision on the Parliament."

"What the BJP is doing and trying to bring about a mid-term poll, is against parliamentary democracy and we totally denounce that. The Congress too is only talking to the BJP and is leaving no space to all other parties. It seems both the Congress and the BJP are working in tandem and the government is trying to hide the unprecedented economic crisis prevailing in the country," he said.

TDP's Nama Nageshwara Rao also sought cancellation of all allotments and criticised the Prime Minister for attacking CAG.


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