IMG likely to complete coal report by Sep 15: Bansal

IMG likely to complete coal report by Sep 15: Bansal

The inter-ministerial group (IMG) reviewing the coal block allocations to private firms is likely to complete its exercise by Sep 15, but "it's a complex job", union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal said here Thursday.

"The IMG is reviewing the coal blocks case-by-case of those companies which had failed to meet the milestones. It can't recommend cancellation of allotments enbloc. Many implications are linked to it. It can be challenged, even in the International Court of Arbitration," Bansal told reporters here.

The union minister, who was here to clear the air after the Comptroller and Auditor General's (CAG) recent report said private players had made windfall gains worth Rs.1.86 lakh crore in the 142 coal blocks allocated by the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government 2006-09.

"Criminal action would be taken against those who have got licences by misrepresentation of facts. The cancellation would be legally, economically and politically incorrect," he said.

"We don't want to create an atmosphere of fear among the investors by cancelling allotment of 57 blocks for captive mining. It will give a wrong message that India is not a safe country for investment," he added.

The IMG will recommend to the coal ministry de-allocation of those blocks where the companies have failed to set up end-use plants.

Clarifying the allotments made by the central government, Bansal said the policy for allotment was totally "fool proof and transparent".

On surfacing of name of Congress leader and industrialist Naveen Jindal in the issue, he said he was allotted block during the NDA regime and at that time he was not even an MP.

Criticising the BJP, he said the opposition has just wasted the time of parliament by not discussing the issue in detail.

"The opposition has wasted 80 percent time of parliament by not allowing the house to run. They were shirking debate on the issue," he said.

Replying to questions, Bansal said: "its not the mandate of the CAG to comment on policy issues of the government".