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Coal mines not in production should be scrapped: Panel

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Coal mines not in production should be scrapped: Panel
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New Delhi: Calling coal mine allocations done in 1993 to 2010 as "unauthorised and illegal", a Parliamentary panel suggested scrapping of mines that have not started production.

The Standing Committee on Coal and Steel in its report tabled in Parliament Tuesday said the mines were allocated in "most non-transparent" manner and natural resources were distributed to "few fortunates" through "abuse of power" by the then ruling dispensation.

"Distribution of mines was done in a most unauthorised manner," said the panel Chairman Trinamool Congress MP Kalyan Banerjee seeking scrapping of mines where production is yet to start besides investigating role of officials involved in the allotment process.

"Most non-transparent procedure was adopted from 1993 to 2010 for allocation and supply of coal blocks. The natural resources and state largesse were distributed to few fortunates for their own benefit without following any transparent system, was total abuse of power by the Government," the Committee said.

Noting that "the government cannot give largesse on its arbitrary discretion or its sweet will," it said the allocations were illegal and amounted to huge losses to the state exchequer.

However, on the quantum of losses Banerjee said, "Despite our repeated queries, Coal Ministry could not give us information in respect of quantity of coal or its value. We are not investigating agency and thus not in a position to assess the losses."

The report said: "It is unfortunate that for allocating coal blocks neither any auction was held nor the Central Government earned any revenue."

When asked whether Trinamool Chief Mamata Banerjee, who was Coal Minister in the NDA government was also involved, Banerjee said, "Every Coal Minister is not party of the allocation process."

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