Bhubaneswar: Allocation of coal blocks caused an uproar in the Odisha assembly with the Opposition Congress demanding an inquiry into recommendations made by the Biju Janata Dal government to the central government for allotting coal blocks to private companies.
Not satisfied with State Steel and Mines Minister Rajanikant Singh’s response that there was no wrongdoing by the state government, the opposition members demanded a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the recommendations made by the state government.
Singh said the state government had recommended to the central government to allocate coal blocks to about 42 companies between 2001 and 2012. The central government had complete authority on coal allocations and the state government had simply sent recommendation letters, he said.
The recommendations were only meant for proper utilisation of natural resources, development of industries, encourage local employment, overall economic development, and revenue generation, he said.
The opposition said the central government wanted an auction-based system in coal allocation, which the state government was opposing strongly. Opposition members also urged Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to resign.
The chief minister had recommended to the central government to allocate a specific coal block to a private company, senior Congress leader Prashad Harichandan said.