Telangana urges Centre to allocate coal blocks to state-run Singareni Collieries without auction

The Singareni Collieries Company Limited (SCCL) is jointly owned by the Government of Telangana and the Government of India on a 51:49 equity basis.

ByPTI

Published Jun 21, 2024 | 9:44 AM Updated Jun 21, 2024 | 9:44 AM

Telangana Dy CM Bhatti Vikramarka speaking to the media

The Telangana government on Thursday, 20 June, urged the Centre to allocate all the coal blocks located near Singareni Collieries to the state-run mining company without going through the auction process.

Telangana Deputy Chief Minister Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka said the state government would meet Union Coal and Mines Minister G Kishan Reddy, who is also the BJP state chief, with the request. There are also plans to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi with an all-party delegation, he added.

Coal production is now going on in about 40 mines, and about 22 coal mines will have to be closed down by 2032-33 as coal would be exhausted there, he said.

There are estimates that the coal production would fall to 17.28 million tons by 2060 from the 70 million tons at present, he added. Singareni has to acquire new coal mines in the interest of its future, he said.

Vikramarka’s comments urging allotment to Singareni came a day ahead of the launch of the auction of the coal mines to be held by the Centre here on 21 June for commercial mining.

The SCCL

The Singareni Collieries Company Limited (SCCL) is jointly owned by the Government of Telangana and the Government of India on a 51:49 equity basis.

Vikramarka, who spoke to reporters at Khammam, said that soon after the Congress government assumed office in December last year, he met then Union Coal Minister Pralhad Joshi with the request that all the coal blocks neighbouring Singareni be allocated to the state-run mining firm without auction.

The SCCL, a major PSU firm in Telangana, employs 42,000 people directly, another 26,000 through outsourcing and also provides livelihood opportunities to 50,000 people, he said.

The SCCL is also a major source of revenue, he pointed out.

Also Read: Telangana’s Singareni among 60 coal blocks going under hammer in 10th round

‘Will meet Kishan Reddy’

The BJP says “it has got a lot of love for Telangana” and Kishan Reddy, who belongs to the state, has now become the Coal and Mines minister, he said.

“We will meet Kishan Reddy ji on behalf of Singareni. We will appeal to him not to include all the coal blocks in Godavari catchment area in Singareni area in the auction, and as per MMDR Act (Mines and Minerals Development and Regulation Act, 1957), to give exemption and allot (to Singareni) because it is a public sector entity,” he said.

The government would also urge Kishan Reddy to take PM Modi’s appointment and meet him along with representatives of all parties in the state, he said.

“We appeal to him to protect Telangana’s assets and protect Singareni,” Vikramarka said.

Vikramarka alleged that the comments of BRS leaders on the matter and the actions of the BJP-led government at the Centre had hurt the interests of Telangana people.

Amendment to Mines and Minerals act

In 2015, the BJP-led government did away with the opportunity to directly allot the coal blocks in the Godavari catchment area in the state to Singareni by amending the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 and making a law to allocate coal blocks in the country by auction, he said.

BRS MPs had supported the bill in 2015 but now they talk about safeguarding Telangana’s interests, he said, adding, “They would have opposed the bill had they wanted the coal blocks to be allotted to Singareni.”

The BRS leaders now accuse the Congress government of failing to protect the state’s interests but the previous BRS regime did not participate in the auction for Singareni to get the coal blocks, he said.

The Singareni management had sought to participate in the auction in 2021. But, the then BRS regime decided that Singareni should not take coal mines in the Godavari valley so that their “friendly industrialists” get them, he alleged.

Yet, the BRS regime had made Singareni participate in an auction for coal blocks in Odisha, he claimed.

Singareni Collieries: KTR hauls Centre over hot coals for putting up Singareni coal blocks on auction

BRS attacks BJP

Meanwhile, BRS Working President KT Rama Rao accused the BJP-led central government and the Congress government in the state of conspiring to privatise Singareni in the long run.

The state government’s participation in the auction contradicts its previous stance of opposing the auction and seeking direct allocation to Singareni from the central government, he said.

Why is Chief Minister Revanth Reddy silent on the central government’s auction of mines in the Singareni area, he asked, while speaking to reporters.

Rama Rao, son of BRS President K Chandrasekhar Rao, demanded that all MPs and the two union ministers from Telangana G Kishan Reddy and Bandi Sanjay Kumar should immediately work to cancel the auction of mines in the Singareni region.

He also accused the union ministers from Telangana of harming the state’s interests by remaining silent on the matter.

The BRS will try to safeguard Singareni and its future by opposing the Centre’s move to auction the mines in its vicinity, he added.

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