PM 'may intervene' on missing coal files if opposition is dissatisfied with Minister Jaiswal's replies: Govt.

New Delhi, Aug.22 (ANI): The UPA Government on Thursday said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh "may intervene" and given a clarification on the missing coal block allocation files, if the opposition continued to remain dissatisfied with the replies being provided by Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal on various aspects of the issue.

"The government is ready for a discussion, and the Prime Minister, if required, may intervene," said Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajeev Shukla in the Rajya Sabha, in the presence of a silent Prime Minister.

The Opposition had said it won't let Parliament function unless Prime Minister Manmohan Singh responded on the missing files related to the allocation of coal blocks to private companies at throwaway prices.

"We are not satisfied with the statement of the Coal Minister, the PM is in the House, we want him to reply," said Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley.

The opposition alleges some of the files were from the time the PM was in charge of the coal ministry and some allocations were made to companies linked to Congress leaders.

The government had so far resisted the opposition's demands.

"The PM is not a custodian of files. He does not sit in store rooms, does not need to reply. The coal minister will reply," Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath had said outside the House.

He added, "If the BJP wants to disrupt, there are many excuses. The weather could also be one."

The government has seven working days to pass the Food Security Bill. Despite cross-party support, the Bill will lapse if it does not get Parliament's approval before the session ends on August 30, which will be a huge embarrassment for the ruling Congress.

The landmark pro-poor scheme, which aims at providing highly-subsidised food to nearly 70 per cent of India's population at a cost of some Rs. 1.25 lakh crores, is being seen as the Congress's main lifeline as it seeks a third straight victory in national elections, due by May. (ANI)


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