Published On : Tue, Jul 26th, 2016

Coal scam in Chandrapur – the Australia connection

illegal coal mining

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Yesterday, Nagpur Today carried an article about illegal coal mining activity in Chandrapur that remains unabated even after change of governments.

The investigations carried out painstakingly about this scam over a number of weeks has unearthed some interesting facts:

The main reason why the then governments did not have the PSU Western Coalfields Ltd., a subsidiary of Coal India, do coal mining in the Barang Mokasa area which was actually close to the WCL office in Majri was due to a report submitted by one of WCL’s officers that stated that the coal deposits of this mine were at a great depth and extracting it would not be cost-effective for the government. It was then that a decision was made to hand over the block to a private company. Now why a private company would be interested in mining in a problematic area where WCL did not want to venture is a moot point!


But the ‘real surprise’ was when Emta Company of Karnataka found ample coal at only 34 feet which was quite easy to extract!

It was S.K. Mitra, Manager at WCL who had submitted this report prior to his retirement. Though his technical assessment had been faulty, he was immediately hired by the private company and made V.President! Today, Mr. Mitra, a very rich man having land assets worth crores near Chandrapur is settled in Australia.

His colleagues Arun Hazare and R.C. Sharma also of WCL who worked with him closely are also Australian citizens now and also big time land owners.

The Govt. officer who played a big role in the scam, the then Collector Vijay Waghmare is also to be found in Australia. They have all become citizens of that country according to reports. Probably they could start a ‘consultancy’ for private firms there on ‘how to cheat your country and get rich?’

They have transferred their ill gotten wealth also to Australian banks while our government watched helplessly.

We wonder if it is a mere co incidence that this coal was all going to fuel the Thermal power plants in Bellary, Karnataka, the town that has become infamous for illegal mining of iron ore and other minerals and is now no more a town but the fastest growing ‘city’ of Karnataka second only to Bangluru? Remember the Reddy brothers who were kingpins of illegal mining hail from this town. They have now become Barons in their own right – they do not need to become politcians; politicians need them for support and finance!

Also remember, that Sushma Swaraj contested elections from here unsuccessfully against Sonia Gandhi in the past and is known to be close to the Reddy Brothers. There is a famous picture of theirs with Sushma with the quote ” we will ensure she becomes PM one day!”

It is also strange that Emta Mining Company which was being investigated by CBI at the behest of the Government, gets alloted a fresh Coal block by the then Coal Minister Piyush Goel. A mere 11 days after investigation begins.

Probably we should not be cynical and agree – this is Capitalism and progress, Indian style!!