Nagpur: Despite the high claims of curbing coal theft by the bosses, smuggling of the Black Gold in massive quantities continues unabated in WCL mines and coal stockyards. This dubious act has been denting the revenue of the government in crores. The coal smuggling business has been thriving since long, of course, in connivance with WCL’s Security Officers. At the same time, the concerned Area Managers and Vigilance Officers sitting in Headquarters turn a blind eye towards the illegal act, for obvious reasons.
Why no report to police on coal smuggling?
According to sources, the smuggled coal is being supplied to brick kilns being run in other areas. Not only coal is being smuggled but several valuable materials are being stolen from shut down mines and stockyards. The materials include spare parts, scrap, steel, brass, aluminium etc. But surprisingly, no police complaints are lodged for the theft of such valuable materials.
Sources further said that most of the coal smuggling and theft incidents are being reported in the regional areas of Western Coalfields Limited (WCL). The smuggling hotspots are at Umred Area, Open Cast Godegaon, Bhanegaon, Saoner in Nagpur district as well as Ballarpur Area, Mahakali Babupeth, Majri Area, Walni Area in Chandrapur district. Similarly, coal smuggling is also taking place at Pench and Kanhan Areas of WCL.
Mafia terror in coal fields:
According sources, the mafia indulging in smuggling of coal hold “clout” and “rein in” the WCL and thus area terror. The mafia doles out threats of dire consequences if anybody tries to “interefere” in their ‘business.’ The mafia operating in the field since past 30-40 years run the show allegedly with blessings and patronage of local MP and legislators of the area. The mafia is a terror in the area and hence no WCL official dares to initiate action against them. It is a murky subculture that entwines the coal mafia, police, poor villagers, politicians, unions and WCL officials. Coal workers pay a cut to crime bosses to join their unions, which control access to jobs. Unions demand a “goon tax” from buyers, a fixed fee per tonne, before loading their coal. Buyers must bribe mining companies to get decent-quality coal. The mafia pays off company officials, police, politicians and bureaucrats to mine or transport coal illegally, sources claimed.
Nasty business of coal adulteration:
Sources further said that in order to show a surge in profits, a top official of WCL allows adulteration of coal with sand, murroom, and black soil. This mixture is finely blended with the help of JCB and porcelain machines. But the adulteration can easily be detected by spraying water through pipelines. But who cares? This dubious business of smuggling and adulteration is hitting the government revenue hard. WCL has carved out a bad name due to the adulteration of coal and inferior quality, added sources..
Inferior quality of coal hits power generation:
Based on evidence gathered, poor quality coal at the thermal plants of MP Power Generation Company and Maharashtra Power Generation Company (Mahagenco) hit the power generation and pushed them to the brink of losses. Coal is supplied to the plants by WCL. According to sources, the coal, which is being used, produces less heat and thus affects the efficiency of the plant. The staff has to use oil along with the coal to produce enough heat to run the units. This also increases the generation cost of electricity.
With all these shoddy facts in mind, the All India Social Organisation has demanded the government to initiate a probe secretly into the dubious business through Coal India Limited and Vigilance Commission in order to curb theft and smuggling of WCL’s coal which is also called Black Gold and Black Diamond and spare the government coffers from losses to the tune of crores every year.