Cong, BJP spar after SC scraps 214 coal blocks allocation

New Delhi: Congress and BJP were involved in a blame-game over the quashing of coal block allocations by the Supreme Court, accusing each other of flouting norms in making the allotments.

While BJP said its stand on “illegal” coal block allocations made during the previous UPA regime stood vindicated with the Court quashing 214 out of 218 coal blocks, the Congress suggested that the order had proved hollow the campaign launched by BJP against the erstwhile UPA Government about corruption in the matter.

The cancellations of allocations since 1993 showed that it involved a long period involving several governments including those headed by the BJP, party spokesman Anand Sharma said.

Noting that it was “nobody’s case” that there was no mining, nor allocations during 1998 to 2004 when BJP was in power, he gave a word of advice to those in the government to reflect and introspect on how they had targeted the Congress and its coalition over alleged wrongdoing.

Sharma said the party has taken note of the apex court order which it will study and it was now for the government to implement it.

Blaming the Congress for the mess in the Coal sector, BJP National Secretary Shrikant Sharma said, “We have been saying that the coal block allocations between 2006 and 2009 during the previous Congress regime were made illegally after ignoring the norms. These allocations had caused a loss of Rs 1.86 lakh crore. The BJP’s stand has been vindicated with the Supreme Court cancelling all such allocations.”

He said with the Supreme Court verdict coming out, the uncertainty looming over the coal sector has ended and the Narendra Modi-led NDA government will now set things right in the sector and carry out the necessary reforms required.

“There is clarity in the sector after this judgement. The BJP-led government will also bring in the much-required reforms in the coal sector,” he said.

Government said the decision to cancel the allocation of coal blocks was in accordance with its stand and will enable it to make a ‘fresh start’.

“Basically, the judgement is in accord with the Government of India’s stand in affidavit,” Law and Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said.

The JD(U) welcomed the Supreme Court’s decision, saying it is the first effective blow to “crony capitalism”.

“I welcome it. This is the first effective blow to expanding crony capitalism. After this order, action should be taken against politicians, bureaucrats and all others who are found guilty in the coal-block allocation scam,” JD(U) president Sharad Yadav said.

The Supreme Court today dealt a major blow to corporate sector by quashing the allocation of 214 out of 218 coal blocks that were alloted to various companies since 1993, in which it was claimed that over Rs 2 lakh crore were invested.

A bench, headed by Chief Justice R M Lodha, saved only four blocks–one belonging to NTPC and SAIL each and two allocated to Ultra Mega Power Projects–from being cancelled.

The bench granted six months breathing time to mining companies to wind up their operations in the coal blocks.

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