Questions Raised about Sale of Coalfields in India

Aug 21, 2012

Last week the state of Kentucky announced that India would purchase large quantities of coal from companies in the Commonwealth in the future. This week, some lawmakers in India are raising questions about the procedure used to sell coal fields in that country. Angry opposition lawmakers have shouted and crowded aisles in India's parliament to demand the prime minister resign.

The politicians are upset by a national auditor's report that says the government lost huge sums of money by selling coal fields to private companies,  without competitive bidding.

Hindu nationalist  Bharatiya Janata Party lawmakers and other opposition leaders are targeting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh because he ran the coal ministry during the 2004 sale. The country's Parliamentary Affairs Minister says Singh won't resign, and offered to discuss the auditor's report in parliament. However, the two houses were adjourned for the day, after the opposition blocked proceedings.

According to the AP the auditor's report exonerated Singh, but it estimated that private companies got a windfall profit of $34 billion because of the low prices they paid for the coal fields.