Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said that overwhelming response to coal block auctions has vindicated his stand that the previous UPA government was “stealing” the natural resource that belonged to the people.
“Out of 204 coal blocks (marked for auction), only 19 have been auctioned so far, but we have already generated revenue of Rs 1.10 lakh crore. So just imagine how much more money will come once all the coal blocks are auctioned.” Modi was addressing a function held to mark the foundation stone laying ceremony of second phase of 2,520-MW Singaji thermal power plant in Dongaliya village in Khandwa district, about 165 km from Indore.
“During the election campaign, when I used to talk about “koyale ki chori (theft of coal) and cite CAG report, Congress leaders used to make fun of me, but now my and the BJP’s stand has been vindicated. Madhya Pradesh alone will get revenues of Rs 40,000 crore from the four mines that have been auctioned,” he said.
Modi said energy plays a very important role in today’s life and no development is possible without it. “Depriving people of electricity means pushing them back into Stone Age, but the fact remains that 20% people in the rural areas of India don’t have access to electricity."
His government, Modi said, was working nonstop to scale up power generation capacity and pointed out that the country’s power production has gone up by 11% in the last nine months. He also underlined the importance of saving power so that natural resources are also available for the future generation.
Lambasting the Opposition for calling the Land Acquisition Amendment Bill anti-farmer, Modi said land is also required for building roads, schools and hospitals in the villages, and land acquired for industrial corridors will provide jobs to kin of farmers who have large families. “I have said this in the Rajya Sabha that I am ready to drop any clause that is anti-farmer. I appeal to the Opposition – don’t stop nation’s development because you have majority in Rajya Sabha,” he said.
All through his speech, Modi lauded the work done by BJP government in Madhya Pradesh, particularly in increasing the power generation capacity manifold since it came to power in 2003. He also praised chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who was sharing the dais, which is significant considering the controversy surrounding the CM in the Professional Examination Board (PEB) scam and the Congress demanding his resignation.
Union coal and power minister Piyush Goyal said the production of PSU mines will be doubled in the next five years to achieve a combined capacity of 100 crore tonnes.