Mumbai: Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee has written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging him to reconsider the decision of “allowing 100 percent Foreign Direct Investment” in the coal mining sector.
Banerjee said on Thursday that allowing 100 percent FDI would contradict the essence of ‘Atma Nirbhar Bharat’ and would “kill the vision of self-reliant policy that we have been following since beginning”.
In a letter dated June 25, she said, ” I would, therefore, request you to kindly reconsider the decision of allowing 100 % FDI in the coal sector and also strongly urge your kind intervention for advising the Ministry of Coal not to go ahead with the decision of Coal India Ltd to wind up their subordinate offices from Kolkata.”
Further, she expressed her serious reservation on this policy announcement, on ‘content’ grounds. “This policy can neither bring foreign direct investments nor can it bring technologies or know-how which we are unable to access today. The recent trend and empirical evidence clearly showcase the interest of global investors more in renewable energy projects as compared to coal mining projects. In fact, research suggests that about 100 global financial institutions have divested their thermal coal investments. Therefore, FDI in thermal coal is a far cry,” the letter said.
“At the time when the world’s largest coal mining company Coal India Limited (CIL) is producing 80 % of our coal with Profit Before Tax of Rs 27000 Crore (2018-19) and holding a Reserve of Rs 31,000 Crore, the decision of Central Government to relax FDI restrictions demeans the capability of CIL,” she said.
80 percent of coal availability is located in the eastern region of India, that is why Coal India Limited, has its headquarters situated in Kolkata. The decision to shift the offices of four its subsidiary companies namely Bharat Coking Coal Ltd (BCCL), Central Coalfields Ltd (CCL), South Eastern Coalfields Ltd (SECL) and Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL) from Kolkata to their respective headquarters will be detrimental to interests of the stakeholders including the employees, she further said.
“It may also be mentioned that at present the Central Government is continuously requesting every resident of our nation to follow restricted movements in order to save their life from this extremely severe COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore this avoidable decision of Coal India Ltd (CIL) to shift these offices by 30 June 2020, is not humane and may endanger the innocent lives of its large number of employees as well as their family members. The contractual employees residing in or near Kolkata will lose their livelihood due to the withdrawal of offices,” it said.
She further said that shifting the locations of all four offices from the present strategic center to other areas will have an “adverse effect” on our economy.