Three lakh coal workers work in Coal India (CIL). CIL’s workers union is under pressure from the workers that it must oppose the continuous course of privatization of CIL.
Successive governments have been ensuring the liquidation of this Pubic sector Company by handing over coal blocs to private monopolies in the power, cement and steel sectors.
Furthermore, Coal India Ltd has been ordered by the Union Government to stop e-auction of coal to private power companies and provide them coal at the notified rate it supplies to Public Sector Power companies. In financial year 2013-14, CIL sold 57 MTs through e-auction and earned around Rs 6,000 crore which was 40% of its total earnings. The Coal Minister Piyush goal directed CIL to cut e-auction to 25 MTs this year and completely from next year; and divert 32 MTs this year and all 57 MTs of cheap coal to private power plants of Adani, Reliance, Tatas, Essar, etc, although these companies had already been allocated captive coal blocks for power production.
“Large amounts of coal are being sold through e-auction. This is not in public interest. Coal India’s primary duty is to supply to power plants,” Goyal said in the Rajya Sabha. The minister’s directive would cause loss to CIL of about Rs 3,486 crore, if CIL sold coal at notified prices to private players.
Meanwhile, following the cancellation of coal allocation to private parties by the Supreme Court, the Cabinet issued an Ordinance called Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Ordinance, 2014. This ordinance, which has received the approval of the President, has amended the Coal Mines (Nationalisation) Act, 1973. This amendment opens the way to removing restrictions on coal mining by private companies in India.