'FDI in coal mining is against Atmanirbhar Bharat': Mamata writes to PM

11 months ago 31
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NEW DELHI: West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday, strongly opposing the Centre’s decision to allow 100 per cent foreign direct investment (FDI) in the coal sector, saying it contradicts the spirit of “Atmanirbhar Bharat” or self reliance that Modi has espoused.
Banerjee also opposed the Centre’s decision to shift out desk offices of four subsidiary companies of Coal India Limited from their headquarters in Kolkata to other regions.
With assembly elections coming up in Bengal next year, the FDI in coal mining and the shifting out of Coal India subsidiaries from Kolkata is bound to generate digruntlement as it will end up in many people in the state losing their jobs, especially at a time when the economy has already been hit by the Corona pandemic.
Referring to the new policy on allowing 100% FDI in coal mining, processing and sale, Banerjee said, “This policy can neither bring FDI nor can it bring technologies or knowhow 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. In fact, research suggests about 100 global financial institutions have divested their thermal coal investments. Therefore FDI in thermal coal is a far cry,” in her letter.
“At a 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 27,000 crore (2018-19) and holding a reserve of Rs 31,000 crore the decision of the Central government to relax FDI restrictions demeans the capability of CIL,” she wrote.
“Moreover allowing 100% FDI in coal for MNCs will carry a wrong message as it would contradict the very essence of Atmanirbhar Bharat and would kill the vision of self-reliant policy that we have been following since the beginning,” the letter said.
“Further it is observed that in many under-developed and developed countries there has been continuous resistance by the locals against any effort of their possible exploitation. As a result it would create a great impact on the domestic economy in the long run,” she observed.
“The recent abrupt decision to shift the desk offices of four of its subsidiary companies namely Bharat Coking Coal Limited (BCCL), Central Coalfields Limited (CCL), South Eastern Coalfields Limited (SECL) and Mahanadi Coalfields Limited (MCL) from Kolkata to their respective headquarters in other areas will be extremely detrimental to the interest of all stakeholders of coal sector including the employees,” the chief minister pointed out.

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