Coal scam of Rs 6,000 Cr in last 14 years in Gujarat: Cong

The Congress on Wednesday alleged that coal meant for Small and Medium Industries was sold to industries of other states and a scam of Rs 6,000 crore has come to light in Gujarat.

The party demanded a time-bound investigation.

It raised questions, whether it was coincidence that three chief ministers — Narendra Modi (CM of Gujarat from 2001 to 2014) was also holding the charge of Industry, Mines and Minerals Department from December 2007 to December 2012), Vijay Rupani (August 2016 to September 2021) and Bhupendra Patel (September 2021 till date) — kept the Industry, Mines and Minerals Department with them.

Addressing a press conference here, Congress spokesperson Gaurav Vallabh said, “Coal extracted from mines of Coal India did not reach the industries for which it was extracted.”

“In the last 14 years, 60 lakh tonnes of coal have been sent from the mines of Coal India in the name of traders and small industries of Gujarat. It’s average price is Rs 1,800 crore at Rs 3,000 per tonne, but instead of selling it to traders and industries, it has been sold in other states at a price of Rs 8,000 to 10,000/tonne.”

The Congress said that the UPA government had formulated a policy in 2007 to provide good quality coal at affordable rates to the small industries across the country. Under this policy, coal was extracted every month from the West Coal Field and South-East Coal Field of Coal India for Small and Medium Industries of Gujarat.

Vallabh said, “The Gujarat government had to send all the information, including the list of beneficiary industries of coal, the quantity of coal required, from which agency the coal will be sent to Coal India. Along with this, the Gujarat government also has to send a list of State Nominated Agency (SNA). SNA means the agency declared by the state government, which is authorised to take coal from Coal India to the state’s beneficiaries, small scale industries, small traders.

“The information sent to Coal India by the Gujarat government turned out to be false. The industries in the name of which coal was extracted from Coal India in the documents did not reach those industries.

“Agencies buy coal from Coal India every year in the name of beneficiary industries of Gujarat, but agencies instead of giving it to the beneficiaries earn crores of rupees by selling coal at high prices in the open market. It is possible that the agencies have created fake bills for this game and evaded Income Tax, Sales Tax and GST,” said the Congress spokesperson.

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