New Delhi, Aug 25 IANS | 1 month ago

Reacting to the apex court's judgement Monday describing all coal block allocations from 1993 onwards as illegal, Coal and Power Minister Piyush Goyal called it a major plus for the economy which could now move forward leaving the episode behind.


"The fact it (judgement) has brought to finality and closure a dispute that has been going on for such a long time is a big plus for the economy," Goyal told reporters here.

"The Indian economy can now go forward rapidly rather than being cast in the shadows of doubt," he added.

Asked to comment on the impact of the judgement, including on its depressing effect Monday on coal and power stocks, the minister said the investor community, whose wisdom he regards highly, would see the benefits of the judgement once they had studied it in detail.

"Once they read the judgement in detail, they'll understand that clarity in policy, transparency in policy for which Prime Minister Narendra Modi is famous, has been respected in this judgement," Goyal said.

"From my close knowledge of the investor community, clarity of law and policy and certainty of the future will be liked by it," he added.

An apex court bench comprising Chief Justice R.M. Lodha, Justice Madan B. Lokur, and Justice Kurian Joseph has stopped short of pronouncing instant cancellation of the coal blocks as it may have serious repercussions.

Instead, it has suggested to set up a committee headed by a retired apex court judge to examine what should be done for the re-allocation of these coal blocks, while the next hearing will be held Sep 1 to consider the matter of setting up a committee.

The court's final order will help government improve the coal blocks allocation system, the minister said.

"Once the final decision is taken, we can expeditiously increase the indigeneous production of coal," Goyal said.

The scandal involving coal block allocations broke in 2012 after the national auditor questioned the government's allocating the blocks without auction, which the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) said had brought windfall profits to certain companies and cost the exchequer a notional loss of Rs.186,000 crore.

(Posted on 25-08-2014)

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