January 01, 2023

Chhattisgarh: Coal Loot: This is the Crony Capitalism

Sanjay Parate

COAL mining in Chhattisgarh is a living example of how corporates are looting natural resources and flourishing under crony capitalism. Parsa Kete Mines are located in Hasdeo Aranya area on the border of Surguja-Korba district, which has been allotted to the government of Rajasthan through Rajasthan State Power Generation Corporation Limited. The Rajasthan government has handed over the coal mining work to Adani through an MDO. The key provision of the contract is that the government of Rajasthan will not accept coal of quality below 4000 cal per kg from Adani to run its power plants and Adani will undertake the removal and disposal of low quality rejected coal.

The whole murky scam is hidden in this contract, as the average quality of coal used in government and private power plants in Chhattisgarh and other parts of the country is 3400 calories per kg. Private industries of Chhattisgarh take quality coal up to 2200 cal from SECL.

1,87,579 wagons of high quality coal have been sent from Parsa Kete Mines to power plants in Rajasthan in the year 2021, while 49,229 wagons of rejected coal have allegedly been sent to private power plants in Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh, according to documents submitted by the Railways to an RTI activist DK Soni. On an average, a wagon carries 60 tonnes of coal and thus the quantity of so-called rejected coal in this one year itself works out to 29.58 lakh tonnes, which is 26.6 per cent of the total coal transported by rail.

But this is only an estimate of transportation by rail. Parsa Kete Mines has an annual production capacity of 15 million tonnes. If the quantity of rejected coal is considered as 26.6 per cent only, then the total quantity of rejected coal comes to about 40 lakh tonnes. This coal is being made available to Adani free of cost. Out of this, it is using 23.6 lakh tonnes of coal to run its own power plant at Tilda in Chhattisgarh, while it is earning huge profits by selling 16.4 lakh tonnes of coal to private plants at market rate. Presently, the average market price of non-imported coal is Rs 7000 per tonne and at this rate, the value of rejected coal is Rs 2800 crores! And this loot is only for the year 2021, while the mining here by Adani is going on since 2013. In the last 10 years, Adani, along with the pro-corporate government, has looted 4 crore tonnes of coal worth Rs 28,000 crore from just one mine in Chhattisgarh!

The Rajasthan government is pressurising to open other coal mines of Hasdev Aranya including Parsa Kete Extension, citing the power crisis in its state, and, it, in the name of low quality, is handing over one-fourth of the total mining to Adani for free and is also paying the royalty of this rejected coal itself, whereas 60 per cent of this so-called rejected coal is being used by Adani for its own power plants. This loot is going on since last many years. It is clear that the power crisis is just an excuse, the real aim is to fill Adani's coffers and both the Congress and the BJP are devotedly engaged in this "charity work".