Union minister G. Kishan Reddy addresses the media at the BJP state office in Nampally (S. Surender Reddy/DC)
Hyderabad: In the escalating war of words between them over the ‘privatisation’ of Singareni Collieries Company Limited, the state BJP on Saturday demanded that the TRS government immediately scrap the coal supply contract given to AMR Mining Limited to provide coal from the Tadicherla coal mine in the state.
The BJP said the TRS government, and the Kalvakuntla family which has been accusing the Centre of ‘privatising’ SCCL, owed an explanation why a mine allocated for SCCL was returned by the public sector coal mining major and then handed on a platter to AMR Limited.
Union minister G. Kishan Reddy and former MP G. Vivek Venkatswamy told reporters that TRS leaders and the state government which was accusing the Centre of privatising the Singareni coal mines, must explain why SCCL had ‘returned’ the Tadicherla mine to the Union coal ministry which was was allocated to it.
Kishan Reddy dismissed any talk of privatisation of SCCL saying there was no question of any such move and that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had already made this clear.
They said the TRS government must explain why, after the Centre allocated the mine to TSGenco for coal for its Kakatiya Thermal Power Plant Stage II, gave it away to AMR Limited based on fake reports that the SCCL was forced to create about amount of coal in the mine and its quality.
Kishan Reddy said the Kalvakuntla family had exerted pressure on SCCL to reject the Tadicherla mine. Then, after it was given to TS Genco by the Centre it was allotted to AMR Limited on a 25-year contract. This forced Genco to pay between Rs 3,000 and Rs 3,500 per tonne of coal.
SCCL was forced to say only 48 million tonnes of coal was available while it has been proved that the Tadicherla mine could yield 80 million tonnes. "There was corruption in this deal," Kishan Reddy said, "and the KCR family must explain its actions."
Venkatswamy said the deal in reality, was a Rs 25,000-crore scam. While the average price approved by Coal India is around Rs 560 per tonne, Genco agreed to pay between Rs 3,000 and Rs 3,500 per tonne to AMR.
"These profits should have gone to SCCL and not to a private company. This scam must be investigated and the contract to AMR must be cancelled," Venkatswamy demanded.
Kishan Reddy said there was no truth in the allegations by the "Kalvakuntla family that coal mines were allocated in Gujarat and Rajasthan by the Centre but when it came to SCCL, the mines were being privatised. "These are blatant lies."
He said the decision to allocate five mines in Gujarat and Rajasthan were taken by the then UPA government at the Centre, and at the same time three mines were allocated to SCCL —the Naini coal block in Odisha in 2015, the Penagadapa block in 2016, and the Patrapada block in Odisha in 2019.
The Tadicherla mine was given to Genco after SCCL said it could not take it. "The SCCL returned the coal block, did not begin work at Naini but the Centre, despite provisions to levy penalties on such an action, refrained from doing so," Kishan Reddy said.
Till June 2020, state PSUs of Telangana, Odisha and Rajasthan were allocated coal blocks directly. After the change in process in June 2020 by the Centre, no direct allotment has happened to state PSUs as all need to participate in competitive bidding, Kishan Reddy explained.
The coal case
TRS Charge: Centre is forcing Singareni Collieries Company Limited to bid for coal mines, instead of allocating them to the PSU
> Centre allocated SCCL four blocks including one at Tadicherla
> SCCL rejected Tadicherla block saying it did not have sufficient coal deposits
> Tadicherla block later allocated to TSGenco
> Genco forced to hand over mines to AMR Group Limited
> Genco being forced to pay Rs 3,500 per tonne to AMR, while Coal India price is Rs 560
Coal mines allocated to SCCL
> August 13, 2015: Naini coal block in Odisha
> August 31, 2015: Tadicherla coal block in Telangana
> December 15, 2016: Pelagadappa coal block in Telangana
> October 30, 2019: New Patrapara coal block in Odisha
> SCCL returned Pelagadappa, New Patrapara coal blocks
> SCCL never took up mining in Naini coal block