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Govt blunders on coal blocks again

Coalgate has put the finger sharply upon the string of corruption scandals involving the Indian government’s umpteenth attempt to throw away the priceless natural resources that are our coal beds to private companies at dirt cheap rates, ostensibly for hefty kickbacks and bribes to see the deals through. 

The nefarious nexus seems to get wider and deeper, with the latest revelations involving two of the biggest private sector companies who have been exposed of having received prime coal block allotments at prices considerably lower than their actual value, thereby causing a huge loss to the government exchequer. Adani Enterprises and Electrosteel Castings Ltd have been duly revealed to have indulged our eminently purchasable politicians for tweaking the deals in their favour, thus causing allotment of coal blocks in the most non-transparent manner, and accruing windfall gains of thousands of crores of rupees. 

Latest reports show that the allotment of Parbatpur coal block (Jharkhand) to Electrosteel Castings Ltd and Chhendipada coal block (Odisha) to Adani Enterprises have resulted in extravagant losses to the public exchequer, but evidently, the no one is in a hurry to investigate into the matter. Even the CBI has adopted a lax approach to probing these ludicrous allotments, as the discrepancies would put the current government in a deeper mess, even though it has mastered the art of weathering the storms of scams and allegations of corruption. 

Reports after reports have revealed that the coal beds at Parbatpur and Chhendipada have estimated reserves of 400 million tonnes and 1,200 million tonnes respectively, with high quality coal that ideally should have earned massive dividends if auctioned in the open market in the right manner. 

However, giving away these prime coal blocks at substantially lowered prices, especially in the case of the Gautam Adani-led Adani enterprises which had been acting as the Mine Developer and operator (MDO) for the development and operation of the Chhendipada coal block, only to slow considerably the pace of work done on this block, in effect just hoarding the block and seeing its market value go up. 

Just like Jindal group that had compromised its position by misleading the coal ministry about its level of preparation to start operations on coal blocks in Chhatisgarh, Adani Enterprises and Electrosteel Castings Ltd, have violated not only the norms to obtain the aforementioned coal blocks, but, in fact, have proved that the rank and file of the UPA government is in bed with them when it comes to arbitrarily allocating the blocks for personal profiteering. 

To top it all, the CBI’s reluctance to conduct an inquiry looks like the icing on the mammoth cake that is the corruption-infested Indian government, that allows crony capitalism to fester and weaken the foundations of our democracy. 
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