Political slugfest in Telangana over auction of Singareni coal mines

Hyderabad, June 21 (IANS) The political slugfest over the auction of coal mines of public sector miner Singareni Collieries Company Ltd continued with Telangana Chief Minister A. Revanth Reddy on Friday launching a counter-attack on the main opposition Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS).

After BRS Working President K.T. Rama Rao questioned the alleged change in the stand of Revanth Reddy and the participation of Deputy Chief Minister Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka in the launch of the 10th round of commercial coal mines auction, the Chief Minister came out with a strong rebuttal on X to the allegations made by Rama Rao.

The war of words began over the Deputy Chief minister’s presence at the launch of the 10th round of commercial coal mines auction by Union Coal and Mines Minister G. Kishan Reddy here on Friday.

The Ministry of Coal launched the auction of 60 coal blocks spread across different parts of the country, including one in Telangana Revanth Reddy clarified that Vikramarka went to the launch not only to protest against further privatisation and auction of Singareni blocks but to demand revocation and “return of coal blocks sold off to Avantika and Aurobindo (your near and dear)”.

He also posted the representation submitted by the Deputy CM to Kishan Reddy at the event.

The Chief Minister alleged that the first and second tranches of selling off blocks of Singareni to the two companies were done by the Central government and BRS supremo K. Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR) when he was Chief Minister.

“You or your party never spoke against it. Compulsions?!” posted Revanth Reddy. He also claimed that all the leaders and cadre of Congress in Telangana strongly opposed privatisation or selling off of stakes of “our people by either central government or erstwhile KCR government”.

“Telangana people, their interests, their properties, rights and future is safe with Congress. We will fight not only for our coal but every single right of our people. Irony died that the guy who sold off Singareni and ORR Ring Road collection rights is speaking now,” he said.

Earlier, Rama Rao, in his post on X, reminded Revanth Reddy that in 2021 as state Congress chief and MP, he had demanded the Union Government to stop the auction of coal blocks and transfer the four coal blocks to Singareni Collieries.

“Now as Chief Minister, to the absolute dismay of people of Telangana, you have sent your Deputy CM to participate and promote the auctions that you & Congress party had opposed vociferously in the past!! Can you explain the reasons for this change of heart and compulsions (if any) that may have led to this??” he asked.

“Do you not agree that auctioning of Telangana coal blocks will essentially pave the way for eventual privatisation of Singareni under the guise of disinvestment? Why is your government not questioning the Union Govt on direct allocations of mines (exempting from auctioning) to PSUs in Gujarat & Orissa by NDA Govt? Why Telangana PSU is not being given the same treatment”, he said.

Singareni is a public sector undertaking and a joint venture of the Telangana government and the Centre with equity of 51 and 49 per cent, respectively. Rama Rao had Thursday alleged both the BJP and Congress were conspiring to privatise Singareni through auction of coal mines as the BJP government at the Centre and the Congress government in Telangana were undermining it by opting to auction coal mines in Telangana instead of allocating them directly to Singareni.

Meanwhile, the BJP has slammed the BRS saying its previous government headed by KCR finished Singareni. It said the BRS had supported the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 2015 which had streamlined the bidding process of mines and opposed allocation of coal blocks on nomination basis but was now criticising auction for political gain. BJP national SC Morcha secretary S. Kumar said the 2015 Act gave certain freedom to states to get coal blocks in their respective regions but the BRS government never applied for four coal blocks in Telangana in the stipulated period.

–IANS

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