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Could there be a coal scam-taking place in Arunachal also?

New Delhi, Sun, 25 Mar 2012 ANI

New Delhi, Mar 25 (ANI): When the alleged coal scandal rocked the nation a couple of days ago, forcing the Congress-led UPA Government to go on the defensive and give a clarification, a similar scam appears to have taken root in Congress-ruled Arunachal Pradesh.

The CAG report titled 'Performance Audit of Coal Block Allocations' has reportedly charged the Central Government with extending "undue benefits" of nearly Rs.10.67 lakh crore to commercial entities while allotting 155 coal acreages without auction during the period of 2004-09.

While Arunachal cannot match the national coal scam figures, but reports have emerged of illegal coal mining taking place in the state's Namchik Open cast coal mine at Kharsang in Changlang district regularly.

Recently, the Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad (ABAVP) had alleged that both the Arunachal Pradesh Mineral Development and Trading Corporation (APMDTC) and the Tinsukia-based National Mining Company Private Limited (NMCL) were guilty of malpractices and manipulation.

In a press release, ABAVP joint secretary Talo Mugli has sought the intervention of the Arunachal Pradesh Government in following a proper tendering process before awarding mining contracts and signing marketing deeds, as published in local dailies.

The APMDTC authorities had awarded the contract by manipulation with the connivance of the then ministry and officials, Mugli claimed, and further accused the corporation of manipulating the expiry date of the contract on 4th April 2006 after the expiry of a five year term to extend it further.

Mugli, who claims to have documents to support his charge, alleged: "There has been maneuvering with the coal prices of different grades. The grade of coal and rates for sale of coal as per the specific grade is fixed by the APM DTC which are: Grade A-@Rs.1470, Grade B @Rs.1200 and Grade C @Rs.1100 and this includes the extraction charges as well as commission is @Rs.150/tonne."

"However, the NMCL is marketing and selling coal through the railway and road transport network at a rate of about Rs.4000 to Rs.8000 per tonne for different grades of coal. The NMCL has been showing the different grades of coal with the connivance of the APMDTC and as such there is manipulation with the grading of coal, with the sole purpose of making higher profits," he adds.

If 'Coal deal scandals robs India of billions', will it rob Arunachal off in millions - is a million dollar question, who will reply?

In addition, who would provide answers to how many metric tonnes of black diamond have been extracted so far from the Namchik coalfield in Changlang? And the royalty/revenue it generated for the state exchequer? Some questions that remain unanswered require answers in the larger public interest. (ANI)

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