No loss from no-output coal block allocations: govt

Fri Aug 24, 2012 1:58pm IST

Labourers load coal on trucks at Bari Brahamina in Jammu May 20, 2010. REUTERS/Mukesh Gupta/Files

Labourers load coal on trucks at Bari Brahamina in Jammu May 20, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Mukesh Gupta/Files

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REUTERS - The government does not perceive any loss from allocations of coal blocks which are not yet producing, Finance Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram said on Friday.

"If coal is not mined, if coal remains buried in mother earth, where is the loss?" Chidambaram told journalists at a conference, adding that a loss will only arise if coal were to be mined and sold at an unacceptable price or value.

Chidambaram said that out of 57 coal blocks highlighted in a report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) on the allocation process, only one was producing.

In its report, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India(CAG) had alleged that the Congress-led government's under-priced sale of coal blocks may have cost the exchequer potential revenues of around $33 billion.

(Reporting by Arup Roychoudhury; Editing by Jo Winterbottom)

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