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The Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) on Thursday voiced its opposition to attempts of the BJP and the Congress to ‘weaken’ the Singareni Collieries Company Limited (SCCL) by depriving it of direct allocation of coal mines.

BRS working president KT Rama Rao, addressing a press conference here, said the BJP-led Centre and the Congress-led State government were conspiring to deprive the SCCL of coal mines so that the company would find itself on a weak foot, run into losses and later, be pushed into private hands. He found fault with the State government for opting to participate in the coal mine auctions instead of seeking direct allocation of coal mines to Singareni.

The Centre is auctioning more than 60 mines across the country, including coal blocks pertaining to Singareni, from Friday. The State government’s participation in the auction contradicts their previous stance of opposing the auction and seeking direct allocation from the Centre to Singareni, Rama Rao said, pointing out several instances where coal mines were allocated without bidding to entities in other States, but not to Singareni.

In 2015, he said two mines in Odisha were given to Neyveli Lignite Corporation. Similarly, four coal mines were allocated to public sector companies in Gujarat without bidding. The BJP’s Tamil Nadu president Annamalai had successfully lobbied to exclude coal mines in his State from auction, he said.

“But the Visakhapatnam Steel Plant’s plea for the Bailadila coal mine in Chhattisgarh was ignored. Without a dedicated coal mine, the company was pushed into losses and attempts were made for its privatisation,” he pointed out, cautioning that a similar strategy was being applied to Singareni, aiming to force the company into losses by denying it coal mine



allocations, ultimately pushing it towards privatisation in the long run.

The BRS working president questioned the shifting stance of Chief Minister A Revanth Reddy, who as TPCC president had previously urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi not to auction the Singareni coal mines but was now suggesting the State’s participation in the auction. “While former Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao resisted auctioning of Telangana’s coal mines for 9.5 years to protect Singareni, Chief Minister Revanth Reddy seems to have joined hands with the BJP for its permanent closure,” he said.

Criticising union Mines Minister G Kishan Reddy, Rama Rao questioned whether the denial of direction coal mine allocations was a “return gift” from the BJP to the State which gave it eight MP seats recently. He demanded that all MPs including both the union Ministers from Telangana should immediately work together for cancellation of the Singareni mines auction.

He drew parallels with the TDP’s success in preventing the privatisation of the Visakhapatnam Steel Plant in the neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, after winning 16 MP seats and safeguarding their State’s interests. In contrast, he said the 16 elected MPs from Telangana, both from Congress and BJP, were remaining silent despite the Centre’s attempt to harm the State’s prospects through the mines auction.

“Former Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao has been proved right once again. Just like he keeps saying, only the BRS can safeguard the interests of Telangana and its people,” he said, advising private companies against participating in the auction. He said the BRS would return to power after 4.5 years and would cancel the leases. The BRS would also soon launch a direct fight against the auction of Singareni coal mines.
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