No scam in coal block allocation: Jaiswal

Kanpur: Dismissing allegations of corruption against the Prime Minister leveled by Team Anna, Union Coal Minister Prakash Jaiswal today said all decisions on allocation of coal blocks were taken with the consent of the state governments in a transparent manner.

"Not a single coal block has been allotted without the consent of the state government. And not only this, the committee through which the coal blocks are allocated has a chief secretary level officer from the concerned state as its member," the Minister told reporters here. "Doubts have been raised by certain quarters regarding allocation of coal blocks to private companies for captive use…. The blocks were allocated on the basis of recommendation of the screening committee which had acted in an unbiased and transparent manner," he said

Attacking Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Team Anna yesterday cited portions of a draft CAG report to make charges against him when Coal Ministry was with him. They had never made allegations against the Prime Minister before. Jaiswal said that between 1993 and 2009, the then governments had felt that to meet the growing power demand, coal blocks should be allocated in the private sector also as "Coal India Ltd alone would not be able to meet the growing demand".

"The country`s mineral resources are being used for the people`s benefit, so how can you call it a scam," he said while replying to queries on Team Anna`s allegations, adding he was not responding to allegations of any group but was only trying to clear doubts raised on coal block allocation.

Noting that the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had understood the need for using coal available in the country, he said, "I want to congratulate the Prime Minister… Had the coal blocks not been allocated, we would have been forced to import coal and drain our foreign exchange."