I am writing to thank you for carrying the article dated 12/08/2020 entitled `Real aim behind coal privatisation’ which carried the by-line `When profitability of coal mining was low, state monopoly was established. Now when profitability is high, privatisation is being pursued’. This is the essence of the activities of the Government now in its quest to break up and sell Coal India Limited, which is one of the prized PSU units of the country, and indeed one of the Navaratna companies (9 jewels), a moniker given by the Government itself. It then begs the question as to why the Government today wants to sell its own family jewels. Indeed, we, the citizens of the country are entitled to pose the question as to why the family jewels are being put up for sale.
In trying to answer these questions the article actually raises the scientific theory of political-economy to the highest levels by analyzing the concrete ground reality. It does not take recourse to absolutes like good vs. evil but rather situates the decisions in the concrete conditions of the political economy. The article points out that around the era of independence, coal mining was a dangerous low-yield sector with very little mechanization. It was also not a profitable sector, but its output was required for the rapid industrialization of the country. The article points out the important technical details about coking coal and non-coking coal where the former is required for the metallurgical sector, which is the backbone of heavy industry providing further inputs into the growth of manufacturing.
In the seven decades since independence, the political and economic climate has changed and now coal mining is a profitable sector. At the time of independence and soon afterwards, the low-yielding and low-profit sector had to be consolidated in order for the public to subsidize the industry. The subsequent changes have rendered that sector, which has been built up with the precious resources of the people of the country, as profitable. As a result, there are now vultures, namely the big industrial houses of India circling around and would like to break up Coal India and pick up the pieces. Such an action by the Government to facilitate would amount to stabbing the people of the country in the back and must be resisted at any cost.
I would like to add my voice to the call to oppose the sale of Coal India in part or in toto.