CITU opposes coal privatisation

Last Updated: Fri, Jan 04, 2013 11:10 hrs

New Delhi, Jan 4 (IANS) The CITU Friday criticised Montek Singh Ahluwalia, deputy chairman of the Planning Commission, for reportedly pitching for privatization of the coal industry.

The Centre of Indian Trade Unions, which is affiliated to the CPI-M , warned the government against any "ill-conceived attempt which will be resisted by coal workers".

"The coal workers' successfully resisted such coal privatization attempts by the government in the past," CITU leader Tapan Sen said in a statement.

It said that Ahluwalia's argument for privatization of coal was based on false premises that Coal India Ltd (CIL) was incapable of mining and supplying coal to fulfil the needs of power plants needs and hence India was relying increasingly on imports.

It said the 43,000 MW power plants coal requirement projected by Ahluwalia "is itself misleading as it is only the installed capacity".

"In fact, the Planning Commission itself fixed coal requirement for power sector and in mid-term review cut it down as because the projected power plants could not be established.

"Despite all hurdles, during last 10 years plan period, CIL could achieve 99 percent of the target, fixed by the coal ministry."

CITU said the government was not allowing CIL to produce more coal by not clearing the new projects prepared by the Central Mine Planning and Design Institute Ltd (CMPDIL), the subsidiary of CIL.

It said the government had also taken away 55 major coal blocks from CIL subsidiaries and handing them over to private companies.

"It is the government's failure in infrastructural development, particularly of railway transportation, for evacuation of accumulated coal from pit heads to their destination which forced CIL to cut production.

CITU demanded that all coal blocks allocated to private for captive use be scrapped and CIL be given statutory responsibility of all mining and allocation of coal.

It also demanded full autonomy to CIL in respect of capital investment, equipment procurement and manpower augmentation for expanding and widening its production network.

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