Five industrial projectst in West Bengal have run into opposition from public sector unit Coal India Ltd — because these projects are sitting on areas with coal reserves of 1.08 billion tonnes.
This quantum of coal can meet the country’s needs for two years, at the current levels of consumption.
The affected companies are Videocon, Vedanta Group, Bhushan Steel, Shyam Steel and Abhijeet Group. About Rs 60,000 crore of investments are affected.
“We have an understanding with the state government that all projects have to be realigned to keep out of coal-bearing regions. We can’t deviate (from this) for the sake of the country’s energy security,” said Coal India Ltd (CIL) Chairman Partha Sarathi Bhattacharyya.
CIL objected to the original boundaries in January-February last year. The boundaries were realigned in October-November, but CIL is not satisfied.
Eastern Coalfields Ltd (ECL), a CIL subsidiary, has written to West Bengal Chief Secretary Ashok Mohan Chakraborty to intervene in the matter and "exclude" the coal-bearing land from the projects.
Industry Secretary Sabyasachi Sen did not respond to Hindustan Times’ queries. An official of his department said, “Let ECL acquire the land and enjoy the surface rights.”
West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee had said in a public meeting on December 20 that “the state government can’t stop setting up industries simply because of its (CIL’s) objections.”