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CAG’s stand vindicated on coal auction: Nirmala

CAG’s stand vindicated on coal auction: Nirmala
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The Centre has said that the ongoing auction of the coal mines reiterates the fact that the nation was scammed all these years in the allocation of natural resources. “Certainly the CAG’s position has been vindicated but I am underlining the larger issue here...our position has been vindicated,” Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Thursday on the sidelines of an event here.

“The last CAG report (in 2012) on the coal block allocation was unfortunately unnecessarily criticised but on Thursday the figures and the way in which the coal block allocation has been designed by this government in a very transparent manner and has shown two things,” she said. Coal block allocation during UPA period led to loss of staggering Rs 1.86 lakh crore as per the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) estimate. The CAG report had caused tremendous discomfort for the UPA government and the Congress that headed the coalition.

The coal blocks were earlier allocated through a screening committee mechanism. The present government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi switched to auctioning the coal blocks after the Supreme Court cancelled allocation of 204 mines in September last year. It has put 19 mines on block in the first tranche. States, including Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and West Bengal, over the next 30 years are set to get nearly Rs 60,000 crore from 11 coal blocks sold via auction till Wednesday.

She further said: “...institutions do their job and most often they come out with their honour intact but what is more worried is when we don’t respect them and make an issue out of it.

“It can also become to the extent it can undermine the institution. More importantly, I think the way in which this government has come about coal allocation has shown the kind of money it can bring,” she added. States, including Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and West Bengal, over the next 30 years are set to get nearly Rs 60,000 crore from 11 coal blocks sold via auction till on Wednesday.
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