Business India ×

Published on: Dec. 12, 2022, 4:20 p.m.
Singareni potboiler
  • Out of the 82 coal blocks in Telangana, only 40 are in the control of SCCL

By Rakesh Joshi. Executive Editor, Business India

Telangana assembly polls are due next year and the BJP is making no bones about its plan to challenge the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi. An alarmed TRS is now striking back, weaving its campaign, among other things, around attempts to privatise the coal mines in the state. The TRS’s contention is that even though Telangana government has majority stake in Singareni Collieries Co Limited (SCCL), the Centre is pushing for its privatisation.

The tirade has forced Prime Minister Narendra Modi to intervene in the controversy. While dedicating the Ramagundam Fertilisers plant to the nation in Peddapalli district recently, he said that the Centre had no authority to privatise the Singareni coal mines, as the majority stake was with the Telangana government and the Centre had only 49 per cent equity in it. “We have no intention either to privatise SCCL,” he emphasised.

However, the Telangana government remains unrelenting in its tirade. Koppula Eshwar, state social welfare minister, said that Modi had made the statement only to mislead the 

people of Telangana and coal mine workers, who have been up in arms against the Union coal ministry’s move to auction four coal blocks adjacent to Singareni.

The Singareni coal mines are spread over Adilabad, Karimnagar, Khammam, and Warangal districts along the Godavari river belt. In August 2021, the Centre had decided to auction four coal mines adjacent to Singareni Collieries – Kalyan Khani block-6, Koyagudem block-3, Sathupalli block-6 and Shravanapalli -- as per the provisions of the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957. This set off alarm bells among coal mine TUs.

During the budget session of Parliament this year, Pralhad Joshi, Union coal minister, said that an attempt was made to auction the four coal blocks of SCCL in 2021, but no bids were received from any private parties. Joshi said that the Telangana government and SCCL management had written to the ministry for the outright allocation of coal blocks to Singareni on the grounds that the existing mines of the company were exhausting coal reserves gradually. 

No need for reservation

“However, the coal ministry has decided that there is no need for such reservation of coal blocks to the SCCL, as it will become a precedent for others,” he told Parliament. In July this year, the Centre put up the four coal blocks for auctioning again, but only Koyagudem block in Yellandu in Bhadradri Kothagudem district was bagged by one bidder – MMDS Auro Coal Private Ltd – for mining for a period of 10 years.

“Out of the 82 coal blocks in Telangana, only 40 are in the control of SCCL,” affirm TUs. “Legitimately, the remaining 42 blocks belong to Singareni, which should get them as a part of the expansion plans. But the Centre wants to privatise them through auction. So, the remaining blocks would be gradually handed over to the private parties in the coming years, as per the Central government policy,” they add.

Joshi, meanwhile, has said the decision to auction the other mines has nothing to do with Singareni. “If the SCCL wants any mines, it can also participate in the auction and bid for the same,” he explained.

  • During the budget session of Parliament this year, Pralhad Joshi, Union coal minister, said that an attempt was made to auction the four coal blocks of SCCL in 2021, but no bids were received from any private parties

Barely had the dust settled than TRS raised another charge -- about preferential treatment for Gujarat in coal block allocation. The charge was leveled by K.T. Rama Rao, industries minister and the no.2 person in the state government. He said that a large number of lignite mines were allocated to Gujarat Mineral Development Corporation (GMDC) through the nomination method and questioned the Centre as to why coal mines were not being allocated to SCCL. 

Since the launch of commercial mining on 18 June 2020, all coal and lignite blocks have been given through an auction route. No coal or lignite blocks have been given through the allotment route.

The coal ministry rushed to deny it, saying that “The allegations of giving preferential treatment to one state government in the allocation of coal blocks, are false and not based on facts. There is no special rule or scope of giving special treatment to any one state. Therefore, the question of preferring one state as claimed is baseless and misleading.”

In a statement, the Coal Ministry said that two lignite blocks were allotted to GMDC in 2015, while three coal blocks were allotted to SCCL from 2015 to 2019. Of the three blocks, two have been surrendered by SCCL under the amnesty scheme of the Central government, wherein penalties for the surrender of coal mines by PSUs have been waived off by the Centre. As for the third Naini block allotted to SCCL in 2015, it has still not operationalised by the state government. Clearly, the Centre is in no mood to give TRS a walkover.

Corporate Report

How IRM Energy fuels growth, naturally

IRM Energy moves ahead with a clear vision towards transitioning to an energy-oriented company

Cover Feature

Air India 3.0: New wings

Irrespective of whether the final number is 470 or 840, Air India’s massive plane order is the best indication of its confident moves to reclaim its preeminent position in Indian skies

Special Report

How prepared are we to face El Nino

India gears up to tackle the heat wave and El Nino concerns which could spoil the rural party

Corporate Report

CapitaLand expands horizons

Singapore’s CapitaLand is looking to significantly enlarge its portfolio in India

Air India 3.0-new wings
One step forward two steps backward
Budget 2023

Corporate Report




Business Notes

Business Notes


The introduction of black pepper as an inter-crop in the sopari and coconut orchards, has enabled farmers to cultivate crops simultaneously

Skill Development

In 2020-21, the programme reached over 112,482 girls in urban and rural locations across six states in India, including 10,000 across Delhi


The event brought together stakeholders and changemakers to participate in a series of conversations on global trends and recent developments


The programme will focus on educating children on oral health and building awareness around the dangers of tobacco use


Decarbonising the maritime industry

Published on March 16, 2023, 11:45 a.m.

The project will investigate the potential of the technology on cargo ships as part of efforts to decarbonise the maritime industry

Government and Policy

MNRE signs MoUs to boost RE

Published on March 16, 2023, 11:25 a.m.

The MNRE goes all out to strike RE deals

Renewable Energy

Onix to invest Rs12,000 crore in UP solar projects

Published on March 16, 2023, 11:04 a.m.

The projects will require an investment of Rs12,000 crore

Renewable Energy

IREDA committed to RE targets

Published on March 16, 2023, 10:48 a.m.

IREDA has cumulatively sanctioned RE loans amounting to more than Rs1.45 lakh crore