New Delhi: Refuting opposition's allegation of wrongdoings in coal block allocation during 2006-2009, Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal on Wednesday said the pace of giving away mines was increased to match the growing domestic demand.
Replying to a discussion on the functioning of the coal ministry, he said though mooted in 2006, e-auctioning of coal blocks could not be kick-started even now as the process warranted consensus from states and trade unions, but work on bringing the mines under the hammer was never stopped.
"We decided in-principle to start the e-auctioning of the coal blocks in 2006. But, ours is a democracy and we have to pass through a long process. Even as we stand today in 2012, we could not start it. It took years to get the nod of the states, trade unions. Then came in election. The bill has been passed. We are identifying blocks now," he said.
Earlier participating in the debate, Prakash Javadekar (BJP) criticised the functioning of the coal ministry alleging that the four years of "black gold rush period" from 2006 was in no way less than the wrongdoings of the 2G spectrum allocation.
"While 2-3 mines used to be allocated between 1993-2005, it was like a 20:20 match after 2006. In the four years since then, it had allocated 73 coal mines to 143 companies having a cumulative reserve of 17 billion is worth Rs 51 lakh crore," the BJP leader said wondering why the government did not go in for e-auctioning of the mines.



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