The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) met in New Delhi on September 8-9, 2012. It has issued the following statement:
Prime Minister in the Dock
The coal allocation scandal has exposed how the “captive coalmine route” has led to corruption and crony capitalism. This was a route devised and utilized to bring backdoor privatisation of the coal industry which is still a nationalized sector by law in India.
The coal ministry was under the Prime Minister during most of the period which has been examined by the CAG. Under his watch, the Prime Minister’s office intervened to ensure coal blocks to certain private parties and to provide undue benefits for those allocated coal blocks such as the use of excess coal.
The Prime Minister in his statement tabled in parliament has sought to defend the indefensible. The Prime Minister is in the dock for the policies and decisions which have led to high-level corruption in the coal block allocations.
The Polit Bureau demands a high level enquiry which should encompass the role of the Prime Minister’s office in the allocation of coal blocks. All those found responsible for wrong doing and causing loss to the exchequer should be proceeded against. In the meantime, the coal block allocations to private companies which have been done in an irregular fashion and those who have violated the terms and conditions should be cancelled forthwith.
There are certain lessons to be learnt from this coal allocation episode. Coal is a fossil fuel and a non-renewable natural resource. The State holds these reserves in public trust and it should not be featured as a means of maximising revenue or enabling windfall profits for private companies. That is why the CPI(M) is resolutely opposed to the privatisation of the coal sector.
The present arrangement of assigning coal blocks to private companies for mining for certain end-use should be stopped. Allocation of coal for private sector power and steel plants should be done through the nodal agency, the Coal India Ltd. Blocks allotted for such enterprises should be mined by the CIL and its subsidiaries. In the states, state-run mining corporations can be involved in the process. The rights of the coal-bearing states have to be safeguarded while the production of coal and its allocation for the entire country should be done in a planned manner.
The BJP which stalled parliament on this issue is itself responsible for the coal allocation policy during the NDA government. It sought to privatize coal allocation by bringing legislation to that effect. There is no difference between the BJP and the Congress as far as allowing private companies to loot the coal reserves of the country.
Other CAG Reports
Two other CAG reports were tabled along with the report on coal allocation. One of the reports is on the Sasan Ultra Mega Power Project. Here permission was given to use the excess coal produced from the coal block allocations to the UMPP. This was a post-bid concession to the Reliance Power Company getting a benefit of Rs. 11852 crore. Action should be taken to realize the amount.
The other report pertains to the PPP for the Indira Gandhi International Airport with the GMR group. Under the agreement a big part of the total land area of the airport was given to the private airport company at a lease amount of Rs. 100 per annum. The provision of land which can be used for commercial exploitation of this is valued on a conservative basis as Rs. 24000 crore. Further the project cost is financed by development fees charged to passengers which amounts to Rs. 3415 crore. This user development fees itself is not legal. The Polit Bureau demands the revision of the PPP agreement with GMR and the cancellation of the user fee charges.
The Polit Bureau discussed the situation in the Bodo Territorial Autonomous District (BTAD) area since the clashes which took place a few weeks ago. Even today there are 2.4 lakh people living in relief camps. The Polit Bureau wants steps to be taken expeditiously for the return and rehabilitation of all the people in the relief camps. The administration should provide adequate security for the people to return to their homes and for restoration of normal life. The Party condemns the efforts by various extremist forces to further the communal and ethnic polarization in the state. There has to be the speedy updating of the National Register of Indian Citizens (NRIC) based on the 1971 voter list and distribution of photo identity cards to all citizens based on that.
Communal & Divisive Forces
The situation in Assam have been utilized by various communal and divisive forces in the rest of the country. Both Hindu and Muslim extremist organisations have sought to fan passions. There was an exodus of people of the North East from various places like Bengaluru, Pune and Chennai.
There have been a spate of communal incidents in Uttar Pradesh particularly in the western part of the state. Communal violence occurred in Kosi Kalan, Bariely, Saharanpur, Pratapgarh and some other places. The Hindutva outfits have been conducting a systematic campaign against the minorities. In Maharashtra, the MNS leader, Raj Thackeray has been conducting a hate campaign against the Biharis branding them as infiltrators.
The right of workers and citizens to work and stay in any part of the country has to be protected and ensured. The Polit Bureau calls for vigilance against the activities and designs of the communal and divisive forces. The efforts to disrupt the unity of the people on communal or regional lines should be strongly rebuffed.
The Polit Bureau greeted the Kerala unit of the Party for the successful siege of the secretariat and the district collectorates on August 22. Over five lakh people participated in these protesting demanding food security; a universal public distribution system; 35 kg of foodgrains at a maximum rate of two rupees a kilo per family per month etc.
The UDF government continues to target CPI(M) leaders and cadres by implicating them in false cases. The secretary of the Kannur district committee, two other state committee members, some district secretariat, area and local committee members of the Kozhikode and Kannur districts have been implicated in three cases of murder. In the T.P. Chandrasekharan murder case, the police have chargesheeted 76 persons, of which many are CPI(M) cadres and members who have been falsely implicated.
The CPI(M) had stated at the outset that the Party is not involved in the murder of T.P. Chandrasekharan. The CPI(M) had said that a proper investigation should be conducted and the culprits brought to book. However, even after the investigation by the state police which has been done under political pressure, the demand for a CBI investigation has been made by the RMP. Their claim is that a CBI investigation is required as the state leadership of the CPI(M) has not been brought into the net of the accused. The political intention for a further probe is evident i.e. to implicate the leaders of the CPI(M) who have not been found involved in the case by the SIT. The Home Minister of Kerala has stated that he has no objection to a CBI enquiry. The CPI(M) warns against any such motivated enquiry and calls upon the people to realize the conspiracy behind such a move.
The Polit Bureau reviewed the movement for food security conducted by the Left parties in July-August. It decided to make the September 12 Food Security Day observance a success.
Trade Union Call
The Polit Bureau welcomed the call given by the central trade unions in the national convention organized on September 4 for the next phase of the struggle. The Party will extend its full support to the joint struggle which will culminate in the two-day general strike in February 2013.