June 28, 2020

Stop Privatisation of Commercial Coal Mining

CPI(M)  Polit Bureau has issued the following statement on June 25

THE Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) extends its support to the three-day countrywide strike by all the federations and unions of workers demanding the scrapping of the government decision to allow commercial mining of coal by private sector including foreign entities and the move to privatise public sector coal mining companies.

This decision is tantamount to completely reversing the nationalisation of coal mining which was undertaken in national interests to ensure energy security of our country. This destroys the self-reliant basis of our economy and converts our country into one of self-subservience to profit maximisation of foreign and domestic private corporates.

Coal is an essential input for several vital industries like power generation, steel, aluminium, fertilisers and cement. This move by the central government will result in starving domestic industries of essential inputs as now exports will be unregulated.

The 41 coal blocks identified for such privatisation fall in different parts of the country – Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Telangana etc. Most of these blocks are located in forest areas which is the traditional habitat and source of livelihood for crores of our tribal people. This will uproot the lives of our tribal communities.

Such privatisation is accompanied by further deregulation of environmental norms. This will lead to severe environmental degradation posing serious threats.

Instead of single-mindedly focusing on combatting the pandemic and providing sustenance to crores of lives that have been destroyed due to the unplanned unilateral lockdown announced by Prime Minister Modi, the BJP government is going ahead with its core agenda of further intensifying the exploitation of the people particularly the working class.

The PB of the CPI(M) demands that this decision be withdrawn with  immediate effect in the interests of our country.