Targeted by the Centre on ‘coalgate’ issue, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Thursday questioned the allocation of coal blocks to certain companies which do not have any stake in the State.

“Why did the Centre make allocations to such companies?” Patnaik told reporters while making a statement over the ongoing controversy on coal block allocations.

Referring to Centre’s claim that the State Governments recommended name of certain companies for coal block allocation, Patnaik said, “It is not as if the Centre does allocations only on our recommendations”.

Patnaik’s statement came shortly after Union Minister V Narayansamy sought to know the motive behind recommendation made by the Chief Minister for allocation of a particular coal block to a private company which had earlier been allotted to another firm.

“In a number of cases, private companies who do not benefit the State have been given coal blocks in Odisha without our recommendation,” he pointed out.

Stating that the Odisha Government stood for value addition within the State which means more jobs to local youth and additional revenue for the development programmes of the State, the Chief Minister said, “We have recommended coal blocks to the Centre only on such considerations.”

Referring to Odisha’s recommendation of a coal block in favour of Jindal Steel and Power Limited, Patnaik said the State Government favoured the company because it had a project in the State.

“This block (for which recommendation was made for JSPL) had been allotted for a private power plant in Tamil Nadu and had already exceeded the dateline given to it,” he pointed out.

(This article was published on September 13, 2012)
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