Is scarcity of coal artificially created, asks Siddaramaiah

Karnataka Opposition leader Siddaramaiah on Monday commenting on shortage of coal for power plants in the state said, “we have to first understand if the scarcity of coal is artificially created or not. Karnataka had never faced power crisis till now – we had excess production compared to demand,” he said.

“As our thermal plants are closed, the requirement of coal is not very high. I condemn if this is an attempt to weaken government owned production plants and privatise them,” he maintained.

He further said, power stations should not be privatised – this will be injustice to farmers. Once privatised, free power given to farmers will be stopped.

“There is infighting in BJP for Bengaluru City in-charge. The main reason for their fight is their urge to make quick money through corruption. What else can we expect from BJP, he questioned.

The state government should demand the rightful share in GST compensation and tax devolution. We should not beg – devolution is our right, he said.

Prices of petrol, diesel and LPG are constantly increasing. Additional Rs 3,000 cr has been collected as tax between April and September compared to the last year. The Tamil Nadu’s Stalin government has reduced the tax by Rs 3. Our State government should reduce by at least Rs 10 – only then prices of essential commodities can be controlled, he further said.

The central govt should reduce excise duty as the government collected about Rs 23 lakh crore in the last 7 years. Rs 1.2 lakh crore is collected from Karnataka alone. Let BJP reduce the tax and provide relief to poor people, he said.

“The Narendra Modi government has increased excise duty on diesel from Rs 3.45 to Rs 31.84 and excise duty of petrol is increased from Rs 9.21 to Rs 32.98. Let him reduce excise duty by 50 per cent. This is what I call criminal loot,” he charged.

What is the relation between Covid and petrol price hike? Is it right to extract poor people’s blood just because adequate taxes are not collected? Even during Covid, Adani’s income increased by 4 times but poor families are going bankrupt. BJP wants corporates to grow but not common man, he said.

“I have been saying from long time that Rahul Gandhi should lead Congress party. I urge him to take charge at the earliest,” he said.