Cancelling coal blocks not possible: Jairam Ramesh

September 13th, 2012 - 8:22 pm ICT by IANS  

Ranchi, Sep 13 (IANS) Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh Thursday said the cancelling of coal blocks as demanded by the BJP was not possible and questioned the “silence” of party president Nitin Gadkari on the issue.

“Why the BJP president is silent on the issue,” asked Ramesh. The minister alleged that the opposition-ruled states had opposed the process of competitive bidding.

“It is not possible to cancel coal blocks as demanded by the BJP. The coal blocks need four to five years time to start mining,” said Ramesh in a press conference here.

Ramesh’s press conference was organized as part of Congress nationwide campaign to defend itself on the coal block allocation issue, that led to washing out of the monsoon session of parliament.

The CAG report on coal block allotment said private firms are likely to gain Rs.1.86 lakh crore from coal blocks that were allocated to them on nomination basis instead of competitive bidding.

While talking to reporters Ramesh said: “The BJP and the Left ruled states had objected competitive bidding of the coal blocks. It was in January this year an Inter Ministerial Group (IMP) was formed to review the coal blocks.”

“The coal blocks of those companies should be cancelled who took coal blocks in wrong way or failed to start mining,” he said.

Asked about resignation of union Ministers of Congress whose name figuring in the coal gate he said: “Such issues are in notice of the party high command and the party high command will take any decision.”

“Those who took coal blocks in a wrong way should face action. Any leader of any party should also not be spared for getting coal blocks in wrong way,” said Ramesh.

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