Alleging a conspiracy to privatise Singareni Collieries Company Limited (SCCL), Telangana’s Industry Minister K.T. Rama Rao on Monday warned the BJP government at the Centre of an agitation which will be much bigger than the farmers’ protest over three farm laws.
Stating that the coal of Singareni is a big asset for Telangana, he warned that people of Telangana will give a befitting reply to BJP for their act of privatising the public sector undertaking.
“Employees of Singareni and the people of Telangana will show their power in Delhi if the BJP continues its attempts to privatize the company. This agitation will be much bigger than the agitation staged against the three farm laws,” said Rama Rao, who dashed off a letter to union coal minister Prahlad Joshi.
KTR, as the state minister is popularly known, expressed anger over the Centre asking the SCCL to participate in the auction for JBROC-3, KK-6, Shravana Pally OC, Koyagudem coal mines instead of allocating them directly to the company.
“The Centre is supposed to allocate coal mines to strengthen the Singareni which is running in profits. Instead, they are asking the company to take part in an auction for mines. This is nothing but creating hurdles for Telangana and its development,” said KTR.
KTR, who is son of Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao, stated that SCCL is not just a coal mine but a gold mine that is giving employment to thousands of youth of Telangana.
He said that the Telangana leaders will stand by the Singareni employees in this fight against BJP.
KTR stated that Singareni supplies coal to about 2,000 industries in Telangana and privatisation of Singareni will hamper the growth of the industrial sector in Telangana.
The minister opined that the Centre is not auctioning just the four mines of Singareni, but is auctioning the lives of Singareni workers in the open market. He expressed concern that if privatised, Singareni will completely disappear soon.
KTR also questioned the Centre as to why the coal mines were not allocated to Singareni directly like the Lignite mines allocated to Gujarat Mineral Development Corporation in Gujarat.
“Under the BJP governance, there is one rule for Gujarat and another rule for Telangana! Is Telangana not a part of India?” he asked.
KTR said that this was not just discrimination against the Singareni organisation, it is discrimination against the Telangana state and its people.
He pointed out that in the past seven years Singareni has increased the production from 450 lakh tonnes to 670 lakh tonnes. He also added that coal mining, revenue increase, profits, and expansion of the company also took place highlighting the growth of the company.
The minister said that the thermal power plant run by Singareni has the best Plant Load Factor (PLF) in the country. He added that the Singareni is providing coal not just within Telangana but also to various thermal power plants in Maharashtra, and other south Indian states. Singareni is the only public sector undertaking in the country to contribute 29 per cent of the profits, he said.
Minister KTR also stated that with the efforts of Telangana government, Singareni workers, and management, the company was in news for making huge profits. But once the company gets privatised, the only news would be the company’s downfall, he said.
He alleged that the BJP is planning to push Singareni into losses and then privatise it. Similarly, in Andhra Pradesh, the iron ore mines required for the Vizag Steel Plant were not provided, which led to losses of the plant, and that plant will be privatised soon. About 27 requisition letters related to the Steel Plant were still pending with the Union government, he said.
KTR alleged that the BJP government at the Centre is conspiring to kill the Singareni also in a similar fashion by refusing to allocate the coal mines.
He claimed that since the Telangana state formation, about 16,000 jobs have been created by Singareni. He stated that the privatisation of PSUs was a threat to the future of thousands of youth, Dalits, and tribals. He described the privatisation of public sector enterprises by the Centre as a move against Dalits and Bahujans in the country.
This sector plays a key role in jobs creation and privatisation of this sector is nothing but diluting the principles of BR Ambedkar and going against reservations. “We will not let this happen at any cost,” he said.
Privatisation of Singareni will impact the dependent jobs for the families of existing employees, he said.
The employees will also lose all kinds of rights and opportunities and the employees will be removed gradually as the mines get closed in a phased manner, he added.