Indias total coal deposits are estimated to be of 2,85,862.21 million tons, which at todays market price of coal are valued at Rs. 85,75,8663 crores. The government is doing this on the name of development. If coal mines are given in this way, than every year nearly Rs. 28,58,622 crores will be looted which is two times of governments national budget.
In Govt. allotted 289 coal blocks, 189 coal blocks has gone to private companies in 2004 to 2011, and some new coal blocks are still to be allotted. Till date, 1515 proposals from private companies working in the field of electricity, steel and cement are lying with the government on which final decision is yet to be taken.
Interim Report of CAG says that between 2004 to 2011, due to non-exploration of coal by the allottees, a loss of Rs. 10,67,000 crores to public exchequer is done. This fact proves above prospects of loot are correct. To give benefit to companies, not doing open bidding is a crime, but the question is not of doing open bidding, it is of more importance as who is the real owner of this coal? And whether the government has a right to give this largesse to companies for loot.
Companies are doing this loot in collusion with the government, which under their pressure has changed Coal Act, giving this loot a legal facade. Firstly, by doing amendments in Coal Mines Nationalisation Act, private captive mines are allotted coal blocks. After that the companies working in the field of electricity, steel and cement are also included in this list. A provision was further made to allot coal blocks for coal gasification and liquidation. Than removing the captive restriction, directly or through Public- Private Partnership (PPP), the coal mines were handed over to private companies. In this way a well planned scheme to make loot of coal deposits easy was prepared. This loot is being attempted by rejecting country’s people ownership over coal, by misguiding and forcibly displacing Adivasis and to ensure this loot, the government of India under pressure from private companies has changed the Coal Act. It is clear that these changes are made to bring benefits to them.
Therefore, the people themselves have to come forward now for saving this precious natural resource. On the one hand, inequality, malnutrition, poverty, unemployment are incrcasing continuously, and on the other countrys governments are handing over this huge wealth to the corporates for plunder. The governments are befooling the public by giving name of development to this plunder. The richness of some private companies is not the development. The true development lies in richness of all.
It is also not correct to give coal exploration free of cost to the public sector companies. In this way resources are again used for the benefit of rich. In a country where half of the population is homeless, where 40% people do not have electricity in their homes, where 70% people use only 1 unit of electricity daily, what kind of benefit they will get on this exploitation of coal and other resources in the name of development? This is bringing all kind of material consumption only to the rich. Private companies, beaurocracy and other elites and affluent sections of society, who consume natural resources in vast quantities, really get benefits. Those millions of people, who toil hard day and night for their livelihood, get nothing.
Azadi Bachao Andolan believes this handing over of resources to corporates after taking them away forcibly from farmers and adivasis is immoral and unconstitutional and oppose this. Andolan is already involved in mass movements for establishing people’s ownership over resources in the states of Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. Andolan is now going to further spread this movement in the coal rich states of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh and Maharastra. Through this movement, Andolan appeals to public that to stop this plunder, people should take resolve that community ownership over coal is ours, which we will claim through Gram Sabhas. For country’s need, we will mine coal ourselves, but we do not allow any company to mine this coal. Andolan is making appeal to people to take resolve by taking coal in their hand at public places. As thousand of people did in Karnapura area of Hazaribagh in Jharkhand on 10th April. Not only coal but other resources like forest, water, land and minerals are being allowed to plunder after taking them away from people. This plunder is many times bigger than what was done by Britishers in colonial India. Azadi Bachao Andolan appeals that now the time has come for local community to assert their ownership right over resources through their Gram Sabhas and be ready for further struggle. All natural resources belong to Gram Sabhas. In Indian democracy, constitution bestows a role of trusteeship on the government. Any trustee institution does not have the right to snatch away peoples rights and give them to companies for private gain. Companies could not have ownership over them.
Through this campaign to establish peoples ownership over resources, we appeal to the people in their larger interest to be ready for civil disobedience movement-
1.For establishing through Gram Sabhas peoples communities ownership over coal, countrys common men express their public resolve.
2.All mines given to private companies be taken back.
3.Name of Board Directors and name of Beneficiaries of Ownership of these companies, which are allotted coal blocks be made public.
4.Names of those companies and of their share holders which have come via Mauritus route be also made public.
Dr. Mithilesh Dangi, Vivekanand Mathane, Manoj Tyagi
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