Centre will protect interests of Singareni, says G. Kishan Reddy

Hyderabad, June 21 (IANS): Union Coal and Mines Minister G. Kishan Reddy on Friday gave the assurance that the Centre would protect the interests of public sector miner Singareni Collieries Company Limited (SCCL).

Speaking at the launch of the 10th round of auctions of coal mines by the Ministry of Coal in Hyderabad, he said as a Central minister hailing from Telangana, he would do everything possible to ensure that Singareni does not suffer losses.

He gave the assurance when Telangana's Deputy Chief Minister and Minister of Finance and Energy, Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka, who attended the launch event, voiced concern over Singareni not being allotted coal mines.

The Deputy CM submitted a memorandum to Kishan Reddy, urging the Centre not to auction coal mining blocks in Telangana and allot them to Singareni.

He said all the mining blocks in the coal belt area of the state should be allotted to SCCL on a reservation basis.

The Deputy Chief Minister said if Singareni was not allotted new coal mines, its very existence would be at stake in the next few years.

Kishan Reddy, in his response, assured that no decision detrimental to the interests of Singareni would be taken.

He clarified that the Centre was not conducting an auction of coal mines just for revenue and claimed that the states and not the Centre were reaping its benefits.

He said there was a uniform policy for all companies to acquire coal mines.

Mentioning that the Centre has an equity of 49 per cent in Singareni, the Central minister said that the Centre has equal responsibility to strengthen the company.

Kishan Reddy said he would review the problems faced by Singareni and would try to address them after discussion with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, his ministry and the company.

Kishan Reddy mentioned that the Naini coal block in Odisha is listed under coal mines special provisions act 2015 and was allotted to Singareni but, for various reasons, production had not started.

He assured the Deputy Chief Minister that the Centre would discuss the issue with the Odisha government to ensure production is started in a mission mode.

He said once the Naini coal block becomes operational, it can contribute to 15 per cent of Singareni's coal production.

He clarified that the auction of coal mines was being conducted transparently as per the guidelines of the Supreme Court to enhance coal production.

Deputy Chief Minister Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka said that before the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Act Singareni had full control over mines in the state's coal belt.

He demanded that allotment of two coal blocks in the state to private players be cancelled and the same be handed over to Singareni.

He said out of 39 coal mines of Singareni, 22 are nearing depletion and they will shut down in the next 10-15 years, affecting the interests of 42,000 employees and 26,000 outsourcing workers of the public sector company.


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Title: Centre will protect interests of Singareni, says G. Kishan Reddy

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