Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Monday alleged Punjab is being made to bear high expense of coal just to benefit Adani Group.
Addressing a meeting of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) Engineers Association in Patiala today, the CM said if special trains can be allotted for ferrying paddy from state to other parts then why can’t trains be allotted to transporting coal to the state.
He said it is a paradoxical situation that the coal fetched from the coal mines allotted to the state are first transported to ports and then via sea route it is ferried to other end of country. He said that from this port it is then transported to the state via trains.
Mann said it is irrational as the coal can be supplied directed to the state via train from the source. He said the entire faulty mechanism has been devised by the Union government just to extend largesse to its friends. He said that Punjab is being made to bear high expense of coal just to benefit Adani.
Mann said it is unjustified, intolerable and unwarranted, adding that it enhances the expenditure being borne by the state to transport coal.
The CM said it is strange that a government which is duty bound to work for the well-being of people devised such policies just to benefit their friends. He said that this is against the concept of democracy as instead of welfare of people, the government is working to give profit to their friends. Mann said that such moves will be opposed vehemently to secure the interests of people.
Earlier, the Centre had directed the Punjab government to import coal through rail-ship-rail (RSR) formula for transporting coal from Mahanadi and Talcher coalfields in Odisha to Punjab via Mundra in Gujarat.
The Power Ministry had asked the Punjab power utility to start lifting 15 to 20 per cent of its domestic coal requirement through rail-ship-rail mode, while highlighting that the transport of dry fuel would be cheaper than the import of coal.
The Ministry in a letter to Punjab State Power Corporation Ltd (PSPCL) stated that the transport of fossil fuel using the rail-ship-rail (RSR) mode is, though costlier than all rail routes, it is cheaper than importing coal.
The Ministry asked the utility to transport coal from mines in the eastern part of the country to the coal-based power plants situated in the northern and western part of the country by using Rail-Ship-Rail mode.
Slamming the Centre ove this directive, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has termed the decision “illogical” and said it would put three times more financial burden on the state.
AAP chief spokesperson Malvinder Singh Kang said the Union ministry of power’s decision to ask Punjab to lift coal through rail-ship-rail mode has exposed the BJP-led Centre government’s anti-Punjab face once again. Kang accused the BJP of protecting the interests of “Adani Group”.