Monday, September 3, 2012

Sriprakash Jaiswal on Teekhi Baat/IBN7/September 01, 2012

"Babus are responsible for any wrong doing that may have happened
in allotting coal blocks"

Interview with Union Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal on Teekhi Baat for IBN 7.

PC: These days you seem to be sad..

SJ: I seem to be more at peace these days

PC: Why at peace, are you feelin good that you are being attacked continuously

SJ: I have to work from morning to evening, have responsiblities, have to answer people. It feels good

PC: Feels good working in a democracy

SJ: Yes

PC: But your party way for stating ‘no loss’ in every issue. If something wrong has happened how can there be ‘no loss’?

SJ: I have never said no loss.

PC: One of your party ministers said ‘no loss’. He did not say zero loss, he said no loss.

SJ: He said later that the media has published it wrongly.

PC: He said that the word ‘zero’ published was wrong. When there is no mining, there is no loss, that is what he said?

SJ: If there is no mining, how can it be assessed. This thing said by him is right. But stating zero loss is wrong.

PC: What do you say, ‘zero loss’ or ‘no loss’

SJ: No, when mining happens, then it would be known, how much loss, and how much profit.

PC: You mean there is no loss in today’s date

SJ: How will you calculate any loss in today’s date? When mining has been started in only one coal block out of 57, then how will you calculate loss. You know coal geomining conditions, which block is how deep or shallow, which block will last for how much time, which block consists of what grade of coal.

PC: You point is fine that when coal is mined the extent of profit or loss would be known. But tell about the companies whom you allotted mines, and then they sold of those companies, they made money in the transanction.

SJ: See, CBI enquiry is going on. If anybody has violated rules or law, action would be taken against them.

PC: But selling companies is allowed, where is it written that one cannot sell companies?

SJ: If they have not violated rules, then there is no question of any action.

PC: They made money, the govenrment did not make any money but they made money, crores of rupees?

SJ: The question is not whether they made money or not. But if the law permits them, then they can do it. But the one to whom the company has been sold will do the mining work.

PC: It means that you give me a mine for free, I sell it and make Rs. 100 crore for free, then you said that you did not suffer a loss.

SJ: Companies have not been sold, the truth is one odd company was running in losses, and who were not in a position to mine, they transferred it to some other company.

PC: They did it in Jharkhand, not one but there are seven-eight companies which have sold off

SJ: That would be looked into and enquiry would be conducted. If they have violated rules, then they would go behind bars.

PC: You do not find it wrong to give away a mine for free?

SJ: We have not given the mine for free, we have given mines for capacity addition in the country. We know that if the growth of the country has to be encouraged, industrialization has to be speeded up, unemployment has to be eradicated, then there is no alternative other then increasing the production of power in steel. And to increase the production of power and steel, today there is no alternative other than coal.

PC: There should be some system in place for the same, some qualification criteria, some rubber or saree manufacturer are given coal mines. There are many companies who have no prior experience in mining sector.

SJ: Chawlaji, the development mechanism for handing out blocks was such that the coal secretary headed the screening committee, secretaries of all allied ministries were its members, chief secretaries of all state governments were its members, and can a more transparent committee than this be formed.

PC: You are saying that all wrong work was done by the babus, there is no role of the politician, CBI people are behind babus now, and they are enquiring about them?

SK: If babus have done wrong, they will be in jail, if companies have done wrong, then the officers concerned will be in jail.

PC: Jaiswal saab, if the minister has approved, would he be in jail or not?

SJ: The job of the minister is to frame policy and to develop a right mechanism for its implementation. After that, does a minister go to enquire about the company or a coal block?

PC: Am asking screening committee recommendations would have come to the minister for approval?

SJ: Certainly

PC: Then why did the minister approve?

SK: Certainly, he approved. If the screening committee has sent an approval agreed to be all, then why would the minister not approve it? Will he go and see the company?

PC: Let me give you an editor’s example, if my reporter writes a wrong report, then I go to jail, face contempt case.

SK: Your reporting writing something wrong is a different issue, don’t compare this issue with that. But do you home that the cabinet minister or Prime Minister you go and enquire about those companies?

PC: But you sent Raja to jail

SK: There is no question of comparison because what Raja did, that case is completely different. Speaking regarding this case let me tell you, there can’t be a screening committee more transparent than that for formed for allotting coal blocks.

PC: You mean to say that the minister approved that he is not at fault

SK: If the committee has recommended, then the minister has to approve it. Would the minister say that he has to go and see the company? Why has the committee been formed? Why are the chief secretaries of states been appointed? Why are the secretaries of allied ministries been appointed? Why has the coal secretary been appointed?

PC: You mean to say that there is no fault of the minister; babu is responsible for every fault?

SK: It is the minister’s fault, if the policy has been framed wrongly, then the minister is at fault, if the committee to implement the policy has been formed wrongly, presume that the committee is formed with only the joint secretaries, directors, deputy secretaries, then the minister is at fault. But if the minister appoints the coal secretary, the secretaries of allied ministries, chief secretaries of states, then what is the minister’s fault? If the screening committee has passed a proposal and sent it to the minister, that a certain block has to be given to Chawla saab, now what can be more transparent than that? If there is any fault, it is theirs, or the statement given by the companies,

PC: One mine you allotted on the basis of a letter written by somebody

SJ: Chawla saab, the committee that was formed was the most important, the most transparent, would be consider the recommendations of the state chief secretaries to be wrong?

PC: Chief Secretaries would give recommendations, but it was the centre’s responsibility?

SJ: The centre has fulfilled its responsibility.

PC: On the basis of what centre said you allotted blocks to 127 companies

SJ: The question is, can there be a better committee than the one we appointed? You tell me that?

PC: If we had made the joint secretary the head of a committee rather than a secretary, appointed directors rather than secretaries of allied ministries,

PC: You mean to say that every wrong work is done by the babus of the country, politicians are totally clean. You are blaming and emphasizing the role of secretaries but not taking responsibility yourself?

SK: Do you mean we should go and see the coal block there?

PC: But if somebody complained, one MP wrote letters after letters, you did not enquire

SK: Those who wrote letters have been sent to coal secretary to enquire into

PC: You did not get the enquiry done, CVC recommended it?

SK: All coal blocks are being enquired into be the CBI, Chawla saab, everybody will be clear. People who have given wrong statements would be taken to task, people who have done verification wrongly will be dealt with, and people who have done wrong allocation would get trapped. Where is the Prime Minister’s role in the same?

PC: If the CVC has recommended a CBI enquiry, that means there is something wrong somewhere?

SJ: There may be something wrong at every place everywhere. Where are we saying that something is not wrong somewhere? In all allocations done in the country, all the allotments are the all 100 per cent right. When anybody’s complaint is received, its enquiry is done. According to the facts found in the enquiry, action is taken.

PC: Your political isolation has happened due to this issue?

SK: Why

PC: You have referred it to CBI, the parliament is not functioning for the past ten days, the session would be over soon, now Mulayam Singh Yadav will sit for protest,

SJ: No if anybody has to protest in the parliament, do politics, then we have no answer to that. They have to do politics, than what can be done?

PC: If it is written in the CAG report, the politics would happen?

SJ: We do not totally agree with the CAG report. We have said we don’t agree.

PC: You said that he CAG report would go to PAC

SJ: It has to be seen by the PAC. BJP should have waited for PAC’s decision.

PC: Would you accept the PAC’s report?

SJ: We will have to accept PAC’s report, everybody has to accept. The responsibility of running the system lies on the government as well as the opposition. All CAG reports go to the PAC, it looks into the report and gives its judgment. Till then one should wait.

PC: Tell me one thing, on the basis of CAG report, the resignation of PM is being demanded, I am asking why Narendra Modi’s resignation is not being demanded on the basis of CAG report? Why Madhya Pradesh chief minister’s resignation was not demanded, what resignation of Chattisgarh chief minister was not demanded? If you are demanding Prime Minister’s resignation on the basis of CAG report, then why not demand from them too?

PC: You demanded resignation of George Fernandes without the CAG report being tabled? Which means both political parties do this?

SJ: Those people who are demanding resignation from Prime Minister, they would have sought Narendra Modi’s resignation first. CAG has given report of misappropriation of 16,000 crore.

PC: You are deciding on the principle, that anybody against whom a CAG report is tabled, should resign.

SK: Resignation should be demanded from those three chief minsters first after that they should demand Prime Minister’s resignation. Now they have no moral authority to demand any such thing.

PC: You speak about principles

SK: I am telling that if they had taken a principled stand, and taken resignation from all of their chief ministers, then they would have had the moral authority to demand Prime Minister’s resignation

PC: You demanded George Fernandes resignation, which he gave, following the CAG report?

SJ: I do not know what resignation George Fernandes gave, I am just speaking about this tenure. If in this tenure, CAG gave report against three state governments, did you demand the concerned chief ministers’ resignations?

PC: Why did your party not demand resignations in those states?

SJ: Our party would have demanded resignations.

PC: Your party should demand?

SJ: The opposition would have had the moral authority to demand the resignation of the Prime Minister if they would have got their three chief ministers to resign

PC: You mean if BJP does some wrong act, you too will do it?

SJ: Not at all. Then why are they demanding resignation. I have told you earlier, the policy which was made is 100 per cent right. We had to invite private sector to mine coal that is why policy was made. The mechanism which has developed to implement the policy, that was 100 per cent right. There can be no more transparent mechanism than this.

PC: You said that the policy was transparent, was the policy to oblige your own people? Work has not started for four years?

SJ: Were the state government chief secretaries sitting in the screening committee there to oblige our people?

PC: You are time and again talking about state chief secretaries, but the allotment was being done by the centre’s screening committee? How many blocks were allotted on the recommendations of the chief minister?

SJ: All coal blocks allotted have been given without the approval of chief secretaries and chief ministers. When the chief secretary of a state is sitting in the meeting, when he said yes, only then blocks were allotted, if he said no, how they would have been allotted.

PC: Why don’t you release all the minutes of screening committee meeting? Make it public?

SJ: Will release, let it go to court, before PAC.

PC: If you are saying that the process is transparent, then why don’t you make the minutes of meeting transparent

SJ: Minutes are transparent, they are on the website.

PC: In that the chief secretary’s role would be mentioned

SJ: Yes, if you are the secretary, and said yes, then allocation happened, then did the allocation happen with your approval?

PC: You mean to say that the central government works on the decisions taken by chief secretary?

SK: All works done by the centre at the central level are according to its own will, but coal bearing state chief secretaries are taken on board in coal mine allotments, if the issue was not about coal bearing states and the property would have been wholly owned by the Government of India, then it was different issue.

PC: Major minerals are under the jurisdiction of central government, but coal it cannot allot independently?

SJ: The state which has the coal deposits also has the ownership. The states are asked, its chief secretary level officers come any say yes, only after that the allocation happens.

PC: Which means, in a crude language, that both state and centre are involved in ‘brokering’ coal?

SJ: You are saying that it is brokering, I am saying it is capacity addition

PC: In four years, coal has not been mined

SJ: It is different issue that in four years coal has not been mined. Review is in process.

PC: Why have you not cancelled allotments till now?

SJ: 26 coal blocks have been de-allocated.

PC: 26 coal blocks, why not the rest, there are 157 companies?

SJ: There are many coal blocks situated in dense forest areas. If the company is not able to take forest department clearance for mining in dense forest area, then he is not at such a grave fault that the block should be de-allocated.

PC: Why did you allot coal blocks situated on forest land?

SJ: We have coal blocks, we allotted them

PC: Without paying at thought that they are in forest area

SJ: It is written while allotment happens that the private company will have to take clearance from forest department, environmental clearance, do land acquisition, this all is written. In all the allotments there are made, all conditions are stated. It is the responsibility of the allot tees to take all clearances.

PC: Rahul Gandhi went to Orissa and said that mining work should not happen in such areas

SK: Chawla sahib, we do not know whether the mines are in forest or not. You go and take clearance from the forest department.

PC: You could have demanded report from chief secretaries?

SJ: Chief Secretaries have given report, they have been given prior information that this block in your state is being allotted, are you ready, come and take part in the allocation process.

PC: Jaiswal saab, in this country, you gave away spectrum for free, coal for free,

SJ: There has been not a single percent wrong deed in coal block allocation.

PC: Why don’t you auction.

SJ: For auction, our government, UPA 1, in 2004 Dr. Manmohan Singh mooted the idea that coal blocks should be allotted only through auction. But when the idea of auction was mooted, all state governments opposed it. All chief ministers wrote letters.

PC: Not all, four chief ministers wrote letters

SJ: We are speaking only about coal bearing states.

PC: Then tell one thing, every chief minister is opposing FDI, why are you doing it then? Why don’t you agree to the chief minister’s on that issue?

SJ: Even FDI will not be implemented till states, opposition agree, if FDI had to be implemented, it would have been done by now.

PC: You mooted NCTC, states are opposing, but you are ready to pass it, where it suits you, you listen to chief ministers.

SK: We have majority, but we always keep in mind that our country has a federal structure. Till the state governments don’t agree, till then we cannot allocate minerals in state government jurisdiction.

PC: Which means you will not push through any policy without the chief minister’s approval?

SK: Minerals are the property of the state government. That is why allocations cannot be made without state government’s approval.

PC: Even retail cannot run without state government approval, retail is a state subject.

SJ: let it be a state subject or not. But I am saying that mineral is their property. How can we allot without their permission.

PC: Prime Minister said in 2004, but such a Prime Minister who could not make a policy in eight years? Now opposition is attacking you, isn’t it your weakness

SJ: There is no weakness. The idea was mooted by Prime Minister. The idea of auction was opposed by all chief ministers. But we kept on pursuing the matter, in 2008, a meeting of all mine ministers was called, we even agreed to give all revenue collected to the state governments. Then the state government agreed. What is the fault of the central government in this matter?

PC: You mean to say Prime Minister wanted auction to happen, but it didn’t. Chief ministers said don’t do it, you are become worshippers of chief minister and saying that you work according to what chief ministers say. Let me ask you straight away, should auction happen or not?

SJ: Chawla saab, the property which is owned by the state government, without the agreement of those state governments, any allocation cannot happen.

PC: Then why don’t you cancel, the rest of the allotments.

SJ: Why should we cancel, what do you mean by remaining?

PC: You de-allocated 26, why you don’t cancel the rest?

SJ: Other coal blocks are being reviewed, and those would have knowingly not started mining, action would be taken against them.

PC: I am talking policy, should auction be done or no

SJ: Auction should happen. We went to the extent of agreeing to give them all the revenue. Then we could get auction bill passed.

PC: When whenever the coal is mined, what benefited will the state and the central government get?

SJ: If coal is made available in the country, the country will get power, steel, the country’s infrastructure will be strengthened, country’s growth would increase, and unemployment would be eradicated.

PC: Then distribute everything for free to industrialists

SJ: The thing which is suitable for free distribution, why are you telling that it is free

PC: But they are not making power prices cheap? Gas prices are not being made cheap?

SK: Isn’t power cheap?

PC: It is 7 rupees a unit in Delhi

SK: If the coal would have been mined, what the power situation would have been. Imagine what the power prices would have been, what would have been the price of coal, steel,

PC: But where was coal mined in 1.25 years

SJ: Coal has been mined, and is being mined.

PC: But import started increasing

SJ: When the requirement of the country has increased, then import will increase, that was the misfortune that is why this policy was framed, coal is present in our country, even after that we have to import.

PC: You mean that you are not in favour of auction, you will not cancel what has been allotted.

SJ: It has been 2.5 years since the auction bill has been passed, now auction will happen. Since 2009, not even one coal block has been allocated.

PC: There was a blame leveled that you allotted coal blocks to your friends

SJ: After 2009, not even one coal block has been allotted.

PC: Before that you did

SJ: Friends, I was not coal minister earlier. If I had the capacity to allocate coal blocks in this manner, then you could have leveled any allegation against me

PC: Hence, I should presume that you will not auction old blocks, but will auction new ones. Old ones you will not cancel.

SJ: There is no question of de-allocating old ones. But if anybody is found guilty of not mining on purpose, then their mines would be de-allocated. Certainly, it will happen.

PC: Speaking about state politics, you recently removed Rita Bahuguna for the president’s post

SJ: No me, our president

PC: Yes, the president. She said that central ministers are responsible for party’s loss in UP

SJ: It is everybody’s responsibility.

PC: She took name of central minister

SJ: She said everybody is responsible.

PC: She spoke of central ministers

SJ: May be she would have said.

PC: Do you agree with her

SJ: I have not read her statement. You may quote but I have not seen the statement. How can I comment?

PC: You think Congress has a future in UP

SJ: In UP and in the country Congress has a future. I am telling that if the Congress future goes bad then the nation’s future too would go bad. Chawla saab, please agree to this, if anybody has the capability to run the country, if anybody has the qualities to run the country, only Congress has it, not any other party.

PC: But your party is down everywhere

SJ: We are down are up is a different issue

PC: You feel that the scam will not affect you

SJ: if the Congress becomes weak in our country, then the country will become weak, I want to say this.

PC: But you have no leader who is ready to contest

SJ: There are so many leaders, from which leaders would evolve.

PC: Our best wishes to you. Thank you for coming to our studio

SJ: Thank you, Prabhuji !

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