Dehradun, September 10
Union Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Water Resources Pawan Bansal today accused BJP leaders of trying to lower the dignity and significance of Parliament by not allowing any discussion on the coal block allotment issue.

Addressing a party conference here today, Bansal said the BJP had shown its fascist tendencies when its senior leaders publicly said that there was no use of any discussion in Parliament. “Such statement by BJP leaders show a dangerous and worrisome tendency which could undermine parliamentary democracy,” he said.
“The majority in a parliamentary democracy is supreme. The government will have its way but the opposition will have its say,” he added.
Bansal said opposition leaders, particularly from the BJP, shied away from a meaningful debate on the coal allotment issue that would have brought the truth out.
He categorically said there was no scandal whatsoever in the allotment of the coal blocks during the UPA rule since 2004. Giving an insight into the coal block allotment issue since 1996 till 2004, he said coal blocks were allotted on the recommendations of the state governments.
After the UPA government came to power in 2004, it decided to bring in more transparency in coal block allotments. It was decided to bring in competitive bidding in its allotment but the state governments opposed it arguing that such move would have an adverse impact on their projects which were dependent on coal.
However, the Union Government was advised by the Law Ministry to bring in an amendment to the Mines Act, which was done and amendment was made in 2008. The amended Act was passed in 2009 and since then no coal block had been allotted.
He said the figure of an estimated loss of Rs 1.86 lakh crore quoted by the Comptroller and Auditor General ( CAG ) was not correct. He said the CAG, taking a price of Rs 295 per tonne of coal, had calculated the price for a period of 35 years, which was not realistic. “The CAG has said that Coal India would have earned that much amount over a period of 35 years, which is absurd,” he said.
Giving examples of water and television channels, Bansal said a consumer get 1,000 kl of water for Rs 5. However, private companies sell a bottle of water for Rs 12. “ If the CAG starts saying that the government has suffered a loss by selling water at cheap prices or come out with a report that instead of allowing private channels who are earning so much, Doordarshan should have expanded and earned that much,” he argued.
Denying any wrong in the allotment of the coal blocks, he said there was no question of cancelling these, as it would adversely affect the financial reputation of the country. The CBI was already conducting an inquiry and any wrongdoing by anyone would not be spared.
“ It is a dangerous trend and if such wild allegations are levelled, it will be difficult for anyone to take decisions and it will ultimately harm the development of the country,” said Bansal.

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