New Delhi, Mar 22 (ANI): Amid sharp criticism from leaders of various political outfits over a Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report on coal block allocation that reported a loss of Rs 10.67 lakh crore, Congress leader Jagdambika Pal on Thursday defended the government, saying if the coalfields had been auctioned, it would have led to a rise in the cost of power generation.
"Coal blocks are normally allotted only to those people who are in power generation. They cannot sell these things in the open market. In any case, if I think that those who have taken this block, if they are paying a per-tonne royalty, and if they will take in auction also, then the cost of power generation will be very high," Pal said.
Pal was also critical of the CAG report being leaked into the media.
"I am demanding that the government should take serious cognizance. How has a draft report been leaked? If the draft report is only lying with the CAG and if the report has not been sent to the government or to Parliament, how has it been leaked? It is very serious," he said.
Meanwhile, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leader Vijay Bahadur Singh demanded that a time-bound investigation be initiated into the matter.
"We want that there should be an investigation, which should be carried out within a fixed time frame and adequate action should be taken after the probe is completed," Singh said.
Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Ram Gopal Yadav also echoed similar sentiments, and said the government should take action into the concerned matter.
"There must have been some truth and if there is some truth in it then the government should take action," he added.
The CAG report titled 'Performance Audit of Coal Block Allocations' has reportedly alleged the government of extending "undue benefits" of nearly Rs. 10.67 lakh crore to commercial entities while allotting 155 coal acreages without auction during the period of 2004-09.
The surfacing of the scam, said to be bigger than the 2G scam, has once again given the opposition an opportunity to corner the government in the ongoing parliament session.
It is reported that the over 100 private companies and public sector units from the power, steel and cement industries have benefited from this allocation. (ANI)
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