Jaitley hopeful of fast decision on coal mines post-judgement

Tags: News
Ahead of the hearing on coal blocks allocations issue on Monday, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today exuded hope that a decision on the fate of the 218 coal blocks is taken expeditiously post-judgement.

"We cannot allow the fate of the coal blocks to hang in mid-air ... They need to be utilised for the purpose for which coal is utilised and therefore whether the existing allotees are to use it or it is to put to a fresh allotment process, I do hope that this decision does not linger on. The future fate of these is decided expeditiously," Jaitley told reporters here.

If resources cannot be utilised, its adverse impact is inevitable and therefore "we hope that this uncertainty should not continue for long time", he said.

His remarks followed the Supreme Court on August 25 holding that all coal block allocations made since 1993 till 2010 before pre-auction era during previous NDA and UPA regimes have been done in an illegal manner by an "ad-hoc and casual" approach "without application of mind".

He said, "The silver-lining in the judgement is that it moves the system towards the fairer methodology of allocation of resources. It takes away from the government the power of arbitrary allocation of resources," Jaitley told reporters here.

Asked about the fate of the blocks, Jaitley said, "This depends on how and what shape the litigation in the Supreme Court further takes."

The apex court, which had examined the allocation of 218 blocks, said, "Common good and public interest have, thus, suffered heavily" as "there was no fair and transparent procedure, all resulting in unfair distribution of the national wealth."

The next hearing in the matter is scheduled for September 1.

Jaitley also said comprehensive measures to boost domestic coal output is underway including sufficient supply to power projects besides rationalisation of coal linkages to reduce power cost.

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