Naveen govt cannot escape coal gate cases: BJP

Bhubaneswar: BJP on Sunday said the Naveen Patnaik government cannot escape coal gate cases where gross irregularities have allegedly taken place, BJP National General Secretary Dharmendra Pradhan said. "Odisha government was right in recommending allotment of coal blocks to private companies to ensure establishment of industries, including power plants. However, some of its actions need to be probed thoroughly," he told reporters here.

Stepping up BJP`s campaign for resignation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the issue, he said it must be done to ensure impartial and fair probe for though the state recommended coal blocks for private companies the final allocation was made by the Centre.

BJP, he said, demands thorough probe by a special investigation team into the coal issue and cancellation of all allocations of coal blocks, he said, adding BJP has launched a country-wide campaign against the UPA government at the centre over the coal issue.

Some companies are under CBI scanner for alleged irregularities in coal block allocation, Pradhan said adding in certain cases there are question marks over state government`s role.

Alleging that a private company which had been allotted a mine in Odisha had sold it to another and made a huge profit, the BJP leader said the BJD government cannot go scotfree.

"The Naveen Patnaik government should have acted with a firm hand against the errant company," he said.

Pradhan said the methods used by the state government in making recommendations for allocation of coal blocks to private companies should also be scrutinised and if any irregularity is found it must be taken to task.

Odisha government had made 42 recommendations for allocation of coal blocks to private companies, official sources said.

While the steel and mines department had made 14 recommendations for coal block allocation in favour of 16 companies and one state PSU during 2001-2012, the industries department recommended names of two companies for coal blocks in 2007.

Similarly, the energy department also made 26 recommendations for different independent power producers (IPPs) for allocation of coal blocks, the sources said.