CBI's recommendations should be given more importance than CAG before canceling coal blocks: Analysts
Analysts believe that if government considers cancellation of allocated coal blocks to the private players, then it should take in account the recommendations of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which is probing the alleged irregularities in the allocation process, over CAG's advise.
The CAG has pegged a loss of 1.86 lakh crore rupees to the exchequer due to the allocation of 57 coal blocks to the private companies without any auction. The main opposition party BJP has also demanded that all the allocated coal blocks should be taken back.
However, economists believe that the government should wait for CBI's probe report and only those allocations should be canceled, which are acquired through unfair means.
“I think all those (coal blocks) which have been sanctioned are still not excavated. They have not started work. Government is already issuing notices why their licenses should be continued. So, those who have not begun work, their licenses can be canceled. But those who have already started work.. And there are two clauses in that, (Coal blocks) which are legitimate and which have been approved and confirm to the laid down norms. And the other (coal blocks) which have got licenses through unfair means. And the CBI is already investigating that. I think CBI's recommendations are more important than CAG's,” D.H. Pai Panandiker economist and head of the Delhi-based think tank the RPG Foundation told to this Citizen Journalist
He said that cancellation of entire allocation will create distrust in the government.
“This is too arbitrary. Once you sanction and then you again cancel the allocation. This is not done. It creates kind of distrust in the government, which happened in the case of (2G) spectrum,” added Panandiker.
One of the apex industry bodies Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) has said that cancellation would hamper the business
“Cancellation of the current coal block allocations may not be the right step as it will negatively impact business sentiments, particularly in sectors like the power which are already hard hit by the lack of coal supplies,” Adi Godrej, President, CII and Chairman, Godrej Group said in a statement.
Godrej added that transparent fixing of eligibility criteria that is non-discriminatory and with an aim to promote sustainable mining is the need of the day in allocation of mineral resources.