Date: 18 Aug 2012


In a message dated 18/08/2012 21:13:15 GMT Daylight Time, xxxxxxxxxxxxwrites: When Manmohan was holding Coal Portfolio~ yet, Manmohan is an Honourable Man! \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ CAG indicts Centre on coal blocks, RPower 17 August 2012 \\\\\\\\\\\ Report silent on Singh’s role when coal ‘scam’ took place \\\\\\\\\\\\\\ statesman news service \\\\\\\\\\\\\\ NEW DELHI, 17 AUG: The UPA government, reeling under various alleged scams, came under a fresh attack today with the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) estimating a financial benefit of over Rs 3.06 lakh crore to private companies in coal block allotments without bidding, Delhi airport’s development and diversion of coal to a power project. Three CAG reports on coal allocation, development of Delhi airport by GMR-led Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) and the ultra mega power project of Reliance Power Ltd were tabled in Parliament today. The CAG, however, brought down the estimated loss in the allocation of 142 coal blocks since July 2004 from Rs 10.7 lakh crore in the draft report to Rs 1.85 lakh crore being the benefit to private allottees. According to the report, the beneficiaries of coal block allocation included Essar Group, Jindal, Adani, ArcelorMittal and Tata Steel. \\\\\\\\\\\\\ The CAG has estimated a potential earning capacity of Rs 1,63,557 crore by DIAL in 58 years by getting the Delhi airport land on a concessional lease. Of this, the GMR-led private consortium will get Rs 88,337 crore. The CAG report maintained silence on the role of the Prime Minister who was heading the coal ministry when the alleged scam took place. While in the draft report, the CAG had reportedly criticised the PMO in connection with the scam, the final report does not mention the PMO’s role in the allocation of the coal blocks. \\\\\\\\\\\\\\ Hours after the report was presented in Parliament, the Prime Minister’s Office rejected the charges and claimed that the auditor exceeded its mandate on the issue. “The CAG report will be inquired and a report will be submitted by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to the government and then only action would be taken on the report. But unfortunately, the CAG has submitted the report without any proof. I will not comment on the merits of it but unfortunately the CAG has a mandate under the Constitution and the CAG is not following the mandate,” said the minister of state in the Prime Minister’s Office, Mr V Narayanaswamy. \\\\\\\\\\\ In its report, the CAG has stated that 142 coal blocks were allotted to private and state-run firms without transparency and objectivity between 2005 and 2009. The report claimed that delay in introduction of the process of competitive bidding has rendered the existing process beneficial to private companies. “Audit has estimated financial gains to the tune of Rs 1.86 lakh crore likely to accrue to private coal block allottees,” the CAG report said. It stated that the calculation of the loss is based on the average cost of production and average sale price of opencast mines of Coal India Ltd (CIL) in 2010-11. The bidding was also vitiated by allowing Reliance Power to use excess coal from three blocks given to Sasan, added the CAG. “A part of this financial gain could have accrued to the national exchequer by operationalising the decision taken years earlier to introduce competitive bidding for allocation of coal blocks,” the CAG report stated. \\\\\\\\\\\\\ The auditing body observed that “there is a need for strict regulatory and monitoring mechanism to ensure that the benefit of cheaper coal is passed on to consumers”. The concept of allocation of captive coal blocks through competitive bidding was announced in 2004. However, the government is yet to finalise the modus operandi of competitive bidding. The auditor also accused the CIL of causing a production loss of 116 million metric tons due to delay in the execution of new projects. Delays ranging from “one to 12 years” in execution of 32 projects under different subsidiaries of the CIL entailed a “loss of production by 115.95 MT,” CAG said in its report on “Allocation of coal blocks and augmentation of coal production”. The delays, it said, pertained to “problems of land acquisition, forest clearance, adverse geo-mining condition, tender finalisation for equipment of and construction of Coal Handling Plant (CHP) and railway siding”. \\\\\\\\\\\\\ Sensex dips \\\\\\\\\\\\ MUMBAI, 17 AUG: After rising over 140 points, Sensex today gave up most gains and closed just 34 points higher as sentiment turned sour after a CAG report named Jindal Steel and Tata Power amongst firms that are likely to gain Rs 1.86 lakh crore from coal blocks allocated on a nomination basis.\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ In a separate report, the CAG said RPower got undue benefit of Rs 29,033 crore when the government allowed use of surplus coal from blocks allotted to Sasan power plant for other projects. Reliance Power dropped 5.6 per cent.\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ Tata Power declined by 3.71 per cent, Jindal Steel Power lost 4.02 per cent and Hindalco fell 2.5 per cent, after the CAG said it had found irregularities in the government’s coal allocation and usage. After rising to a high of 17,801.39, the BSE benchmark index dipped to a low of 17,622.62. pti \\\\\\\\\\\\\\ __._,_.___========================== 000000000