Monday, 27 August 2012

Parliament adjourned again; LS Speaker calls all-party meet

Parliament adjourned again; LS Speaker calls all-party meet
Clean Media Correspondent

New Delhi, Aug 27 (CMC) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will make a statement on coal block allocation in Parliament on Monday in the wake of the CAG report if given a chance, which has been used by the Opposition to attack him. Singh will make the statement in both the Houses, government sources said.

Monsoon session stares at washout

Speaker Meira Kumar adjourned the House till 12 pm and called an all-party meeting to break the deadlock in Parliament over coal blocks allocation issue.

On the other hand, the NDA meet scheduled on Monday morning was postponed as JD (U) and Akali Dal, key allies in NDA, were reportedly in favour of discussion on coal blocks allocation issue.
The Prime Minister, who is under attack over the allocation during 2005-2009 when he held the coal portfolio, has been waiting to make a statement since last week but could not do so because of disruption caused by Opposition, mainly BJP.

He is expected to rebut charges levelled in the CAG report contending that there were "inaccuracies" in the "misleading" assessment of loss of Rs. 1.86 lakh crore, sources said.

The thrust of the PM's response is likely to be that Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Odisha and Jharkhand, all ruled by non-UPA governments, had opposed in 2005 the Centre's move to bring a legislation on auction process.

The delay in coal block allocation was one of the charges made by the CAG.

Singh had last week said that he "can give satisfactory answers to all issues being raised".

Contesting the CAG's contention that private firms gained to the tune of Rs. 1.86 lakh crore in coal block allocation between 2005 and 2009, Singh is expected to assert that it reflects "inaccuracies" in the report.

The Prime Minister is expected to say that the CAG has computed on the basis of allocation of 57 mines but out of these, 31 coal blocks belong to the period prior to 2006.

He will assert that the amount of loss projected by CAG was "misleading" as calculations had been done on the basis of Coal India prices and private players have different cost parameters, the sources said.

However, accusing UPA government of being "arrogant and despotic", BJP leader Arun Jaitley on Sunday said the onus is on Prime Minister Minister Manmohan Singh to accept the responsibility for the "arbitrary and discretionary" allocation of 142 coal blocks.

In hard hitting comments, the Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha also said the Prime Minister's Office should be judged by standards "much harsher" than those which would apply to ministers like A Raja who had to resign over the controversial 2G spectrum license allocation.

Jaitley on Sunday said suggestions to debate the issue only in Parliament "will put a lid on one of the greatest scandals in Indian history."

"It has been suggested that since the Prime Minister himself was the coal minister, we should assume that this decision was fair. The Prime Minister’s office is a sacred institution in Indian democracy. It has to be judged by standards much harsher than those which would apply to Ministers(Telecom) like Shri A Raja," Jaitley said in an article released by the BJP.

The BJP leader said that a debate is an essential ingredient of Parliament but so is accountability.

Jaitley said that if the process of allocation by the Prime Minister as a coal minister "smacks of arbitrariness it shakes our national conscience. The onus is now on the Prime Minister to accept the responsibility for what has happened."

"Suggestions that the issue should be debated only in the Parliament will put a lid on one of the greatest scandals in Indian history. We, in the Opposition, are not interested in merely the issue being talked out through a one-day debate in Parliament", he added.

In the article, titled "The Allocation of 142 Coal Blocks", Jaitley said "The arbitrary and discretionary allocation of 142 coal blocks is the latest albatross round the neck of the UPA Government. The arrogant and despotic government did not realise when the allocations were made that it would be held accountable for each of these coal block allocations."

On the other hand, the government on Sunday night hit back at the BJP for defending obstruction in Parliament over CAG report on coal blocks allocation, saying the opposition was running away from discussion as it feared that the debate will boomerang on them.

"During their (NDA) regime one can walk in with the recommendations of the state government and walk out with coal block allocations. UPA changed that through transparent process of ascertaining eligibility of captive blocks for cement steel and power plants," Parliamentary affairs minister Pawan Kumar Bansal told Clean Media.

Ridiculing BJP leader Arun Jaitley's contention justifying disruption of Parliament proceedings by terming it as a "rarest of rare cases", Bansal said that from day one of the last Lok Sabha when UPA came to power, obstruction has become the order of the day.

"Obstruction has not been an exception. It has now become a norm. And after making the reckless demand of resignation of the Prime Minister, the BJP did not realise what lay in the matter and that is why they are running away from the discussion." he said.

He also lamented that the main opposition was "totally oblivious" of the role and relevance of Parliament, and were making obstructions when a heavy legislative agenda was before Parliament including some anti-corruption bills.

1 comment:

  1. Its great Indian drama which is being enacted in Parliament!