Just when the country was trying to make sense of the anti- corruption movements of Anna Hazare and Baba Ramdev, a shocking revelation by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India has shocked the nation.
In a report about coal mining irregularities, CAG (an authority that audits expenditures of central and state governments) has blamed the UPA government for allocating coal mining licenses to private and public entities without publicly auctioning them to the highest bidder. This fraudulent practice has allegedly cost our national exchequer a whopping Rs 1.86 lakh crore rupees!!! (Infact an initial leaked report put the figure at 10.76 lakh crores.)
Quite similar to the 2G spectrum scam, the allocation process was neither transparent nor full proof. The government not only gave coal blocks at throw away prices to over 150 companies but also to companies that had never engaged in mining before. Ever more worse is that many of the companies have still not mined the ore – a big reason for the country’s power crisis that resulted in a disastrous blackout some months back.
However, what has shocked many people is the name of PM Manmohan Singh in the coal mining scam. For a long time now the PM was hailed as an honest leader heading
cheap cialis online a corrupt government but the fact that the PM held the coal ministry between 2006 and 2009 has raised questions on his clean image.
Infact news reports in international media like the Time magazine and Washington Post have criticized the PM for being an ‘Underachiever’ and ‘Tragic figure’, which has further dented his image. As we know this isn’t the first time the present UPA government has witnessed a scam of such magnitude. Other big ticket scams like CWG scam, Adarsh scam and 2G spectrum allocation scam has already seen political heavyweights land behind the bars.
Here’s a recap of other corruption scandals that rocked India.
But this time the Coalgate scam is turning out to be a political scandal. While the Opposition parties (BJP in particular) have demanded the PM’s resignation, the government has hit back by calling for a full-fledged debate in the parliament. The political backlash has taken the issue no where!
In between all this hoopla, it’s the parliament that has suffered the most. While the month long monsoon session has already come to an end, protests from the opposition ensured a highly unproductive assembly session. Out of over 100 pending legislations only 4 bills have been passed this time.
While everyone is busy discussing the financial and political implications of the coal mining scam, the issue of environmental harm to forests is being completely ignored.
Meanwhile, Greenpeace India, an environment NGO has started the ‘Save Junglistan’ campaign to draw attention towards the disastrous effect of coal mining on the country’s forest reserves. A signature campaign urging the PM to save forests is also on. They plan to submit the petition when he hosts other countries for the United Nations Convention on Bio-diversity in October this year.
For now the ‘Coalgate’ scam is being investigated by the CBI and some cabinet ministers are under the scanner. But the question ‘When will India see an end to such corruption scams?’ still remains absurd.
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