New Delhi, Aug 25 IANS | 3 months ago

Prime Minister Narendra Modi Monday met Coal and Power Minister Piyush Goyal along with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to discuss the fallout of the apex court's pronouncement on coal block allocations.

The Supreme Court Monday held that all coal block allocations made since 1993 till 2010 have been done in an illegal manner by an ad-hoc and casual approach.

"The Prime Minister desires that all issues which are urgent and need to be prioritised should be quickly resolved," Goyal said before the meeting.

"As the PM has said in the past that this government works as an organic entity, it interacts with various ministries to learn and understand the priority issues and ways to resolve them on a real time basis," he added.

Earlier, reacting to the apex court's judgement describing all coal block allocations from 1993 onwards as illegal, Coal 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.

The court's final order will help government improve coal production towards supplying more power to the people, the minister said.

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

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 the setting up of a committee headed by a retired apex court judge to examine what should be done for the reallocation of these coal blocks, while the next hearing will be held Sep 1 to consider the matter of setting up a committee.

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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