PM to make statement on coal block allocation in Parliament

New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will make a statement on coal block allocation in Parliament on Monday in the wake of the CAG report, which has been used by opposition to attack him.

Singh will make the statement in both the Houses, government sources said.

The Prime Minister, who is under attack over the allocation during 2005-2009 when he held the coal portfolio, has been waiting to make a statement since last week but could not do so because of disruption caused by Opposition, mainly BJP.

He is expected to rebut charges levelled in the CAG report contending that there were "inaccuracies" in the "misleading" assessment of loss of Rs 1.85 lakh crore, sources said.

The thrust of the PM`s response is likely to be that Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Odisha and Jharkhand, all ruled by non-UPA governments, had opposed in 2005 the Centre`s move to bring a legislation on auction process.

The delay in coal block allocation was one of the charges made by the CAG. Singh had last week said that he "can give satisfactory answers to all issues being raised".

Contesting the CAG`s contention that private firms gained to the tune of Rs 1.85 lakh crore in coal block allocation between 2005 and 2009, Singh is expected to assert that it reflects "inaccuracies" in the report.

The Prime Minister is expected to say that the CAG has computed on the basis of allocation of 57 mines but out of these, 31 coal blocks belong to the period prior to 2006.

He will assert that the amount of loss projected by CAG was "misleading" as calculations had been done on the basis of Coal India prices and private players have different cost parameters, the sources said.