Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) working president and Minister for Municipal Administration and IT K. T. Rama Rao on April 6 gave a call for ‘maha dharna’ in the coal towns of Kothagudem, Mancherial and Ramagundam on April 8 to protest against the Centre’s alleged attempts to auction the Singareni Collieries Company Limited (SCCL)’s coal blocks and privatise the State-owned coal mining company.
In a statement, Mr. Rama Rao alleged that the Centre issued a notification to auction the mines in Sattupalli Block 3, Shravanapalli and Penagadapa from March 29 to May 30, 2023.
He demanded that the auctioning process be rolled back and the coal mines be allocated to the SCCL without auctioning.
“BRS leaders and cadre along with the SCCL employees will protest against the Centre in Mancherial, Kothagudem and Ramagundam on April 8,” he said.
“Does anyone from the Centre dare show the need for privatising SCCL when it is setting records in terms of production, profits and Plant Load Factor (PLF),” he asked.
He charged the Centre with conspiring to push the SCCL, which was currently reaping profits, into losses by not allocating the coal mines in an attempt to impede Telangana’s growth.
Alleging that the Centre pushed the Vizag Steel Plant (VSP) in Andhra Pradesh into losses by not allocating mines to it, Mr Rao accused the BJP dispensation at the Centre of selling many Public Sector Units (PSUs) in the country.
The Telangana government had been consistently urging the Centre to allocate the mines to the SCCL for the past several years and the SCCL employees had been demanding the same, he said, alleging that the Centre turned a deaf ear to it.
Mr Rao said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to Ramagundam in November last year assured that the SCCL would not be privatised. But he did not stand by his promise, Mr Rao charged, saying “How the Prime Minister would respond to it during his next visit to the State.”
He further alleged that the Prime Minister, who was generous towards Gujarat, discriminated progressive Telangana. Attempts to privatise the SCCL were intended to mar Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao’s determination to provide 24-hour free power supply to farmers. The Centre was not able to digest the appreciation the Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project has been receiving, he said, alleging that the Centre was plotting to deprive the lift irrigation projects in the State of power supply.