Free Press Journal

UPA must explain money lost in coal allocations: PM



Rourkela: Terming the recent Rs 2-lakh crore coal auction as a major success, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said the previous UPA government should explain where did the money go when it had allocated 204 mines. Modi also said that the money from the auction would not go to the Centre’s coffers, but to the concerned states including Odisha, while he asked the state government to focus on long-term development plans, and not on “the petty things that give instant benefits”.

The Prime Minister promised full support of the Centre for development of eastern states like Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and West Bengal, as he invoked Lord Jagganath during an over half-an-hour speech that he began in Odiya after dedicating to the nation a Rs 12,000-crore expansion project of state-run SAIL’s Rourkela Steel Plant here.

“Where had the money gone when the previous government allocated as many as 204 coal mines? People at the helm then should now explain how the present government could mobilise Rs 2 lakh crore out of auction of only 20 coal mines,” Modi said while pointing out that the central government stood for transparency. The Prime Minister was speaking at a meeting after dedicating the Rourkela Steel Plant’s Rs 12,000-crore expansion project here.

Maintaining that coal has now been transformed into diamond, he said the present government put the coal mines for auction after the Supreme Court rejected allocation of 204 coal mines made earlier.

Modi also recalled how he and others were not believing CAG report on reported loss of revenue to the tune of Rs 1.76 lakh crore due to faulty coal block allocations made by the previous government. “Now, after mobilisation of Rs 2 lakh crore by auction of 20 coal mines, I have reasons to believe the CAG report,” the Prime Minister said. Asserting that there would be no compromise on honesty and transparency, Modi said, “We are in the government for 10 months and there is no scam or financial irregularities.”