Bilaspur, 7 Feb, 2022. Congress launched a massive protest against SECL today for supplying Chattisgarh’s coal outside the state on the cost of unfulfilled demand of Chattisgarh’s CPP based industries. Thousands of Congress workers protested today at SECL headquarter, Bilaspur under the leadership of Shyam Narayan Soni, former President, Chattisgarh Youth Congress. A delagation of Congress under Soni’s leadership held a meeting with Prem Sagar Mishra, CMD, SECL to submit a memorandum to prioritize Non Power sector of the state in terms of coal supply. Mr. Mishra has assured that the Non Power Sector’s coal demand will be fulfilled completely. Mahendra Gagotri, Executive President, Pradesh Congress and Abhay Narayan, spokesperson, Pradesh Congress Committee were also present during agitation.
In an interaction with media, Soni expressed concerns about SECL’s strategy of not providing sufficient coal to state’s Non Power sector on a priority basis. He also mentioned that Congress will support state’s residents and industries as they have the first right over state’s resources and will not let center fulfill its malafide intentions to weaken the industry sector of Chattisgarh.
Soni criticized the policies of the central government severely during the protest. He also said that , the central government is targeting the industries of non BJP ruled states to weaken them and turn this to their advantage during polls despite the fact that country is battling with an enormous challenge of unemployment. Soni reiterated that under the leadership of Bhupesh Bhaghel, Chief Minister, Congress will leave no stone unturned to support the workforce and economically backward classes. As the industries are a major source of employment in the state, the coal crisis can possibly lead to shut down of these industries which can severely impact the socio-economic fabric.
Giving reply to the questions of media, Soni told, “Chattisgarh is a mineral resources rich state and has 18 per cent of the total coal reserves in India which means that around 56 billion tons of coal is present in Chhattishgarh. SECL produces 165 million tonnes of coal annually, which is around 25 per cent of the total coal production in the country. Hence, there is no reason behind keeping the industries of state coal deficit. If SECL is unable to meet its targets, then it is high time that CIL should take strong steps to rectify its business operations and solve the existing coal crisis at the earliest.
The industries of Chattisgarh are facing the coal crisis since past one year which has led to a highly polarized atmosphere in the state. SECL’s policies are being criticized by different industrial associations and the state Congress is also seen supporting the industrial fraternity to turn the situation in party’s favour. Although, other political associations are also seen supporting the industries. On October 2021, BJP workers launched a movement against SECL under the leadership of Girish Sharma, District Vice President, Korba BJP which was followed by protest of Dharamjit Singh, MLA, Lormi of Chattisgarh Janta Congress,. As a result of these state wide protests, SECL committed to provide sufficient coal supply to CPP based industries but is currently seen faltering from its commitment. Now Congress has come to the fore front to highlight the challenges faced by industries of the state due to the flawed policies of SECL.