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Millennium Post

Jharkhand coal in kitty, firms forget investment

The allocation of coal blocks in the mineral-rich state of Jharkhand is turning out to be an open-and-shut case of blatant loot of natural resources. The state government signed memorandums of understanding [MoU] with several companies, both big and small, promising investments running into lakh of crores of rupees. However, a close scrutiny of the document titled 'Status of MoU signed for Mega Investment' revealed that coal blocks were allotted to these companies on the recommendation of the state governments, as they had entered into an agreement to make huge investments in the state. However, the story of the state is that the promised investments never came.

While the Central Bureau of Investigation [CBI] has cracked down on a few companies, a scrutiny of the document – Millennium Post possesses its copy – reveals that in several cases even 10 per cent of promised investment has not been made, even when, in some cases, the MoUs were signed seven years back. These investments were to be made for setting up various enterprises, like steel, aluminum and power plants. Though they failed to set up the industry, in some cases they, without qualm, continued to extract coal from the blocks allotted to them to run these plants.

Those who have promised to make the investment includes industry major Tata Steel, Arcelor Mittal, Jindal Steel, Bhushan Steel, Mukund Steel and Hindalco. There are several smaller players also which have defaulted, which includes Vini Steel, which has made no investment and has also been named by the CBI in one of the five FIRs registered in the Coalgate case. Incidentally the MoU with these defaulting companies were signed during the first tenure of the Jharkhand chief minister Arjun Munda between 2004 and 2006. The then chief secretary P P Sharma, whose name appears as a director of the Abhijeet group, which is under the CBI scanner, played a stellar role in execution of these MoUs.


COAL MINISTER ASKED TO INTERVENE IN MUMBAI CARTOONIST'S ARREST

Supporters of India Against Corruption (IAC) and the parents of jailed cartoonist Aseem Trivedi, who was charged with sedition by Mumbai police, Monday heckled union Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal and sought his intervention in the matter.

Hundreds of people gathered outside Jaiswal's house and demanded that the case of sedition be immediately withdrawn and action be taken against the policemen. Parents of the jailed cartoonist said that Aseem was not only 'innocent but a die hard patriot'. 'We are amazed at the police action and suspect that his arrest and slapping of sedition charges is politically motivated,' they said.

Jaiswal assured Trivedi's family that he would look into the matter. Twenty five-year-old Aseem is a resident of Shuklaganj, on the outskirts of Kanpur, and has been at the forefront of IAC campaigns.

He has been spearheading a 'Cartoons Against Corruption' campaign on social media networks.

After Mumbai police registered a case against him, he fled from Mumbai to Delhi. Aseem's friends said that a few days ago, his father Ashok was interrogated for over seven hours by Mumbai cops in Kanpur.
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