To set the record straight, Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Monday said the government never talked about “zero loss” in allocation of coal blocks and complained of incorrect reporting by the media of his remarks on the issue. The Finance Minister was referring to the media-briefing jointly addressed by him, Minister of Law and Justice Salman Khurshid and Minister of Coal Sriprakash Jaiswal on August 24.
“None of us used the phrase zero loss. Nevertheless a section of the Press has incorrectly reported that government claimed that there was “zero loss” in the allocation of coal blocks,” Chidambaram said in statement here.
“In fact what I said was if coal is not mined, if coal remains buried in mother earth where is the loss. The loss can arise only if one tonne of coal is taken out of mother earth and sold at some unacceptable price or value,” Chidambaram said.
He recalled that one of the reporters asked a question whether he was claiming that there was zero loss. “To which I replied: you are putting words in my mouth. I said question of loss or gain arises only in respect of coal actually mined from any of the 57 blocks. If the coal is not being mined there is no question of a gain or a loss. That is what I said. So please quote me accurately,” Chidambaram said in the statement.
He said the statement is being issued to set the record straight.
Meanwhile, the Finance Minister yet again appealed to the Opposition parties led by the Bhartiya Janta Party to discuss the entire CAG report in detail in the House rather than demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.