A file picture of dumpers carrying coal stranded on Panem link road
Dumka, Nov. 29: Former chief minister Babulal Marandi today alleged that Panem Coal Mines Limited had misappropriated over Rs 9,000 crore during the last six years since its operations began in Pakur by transporting more coal than what it showed on paper.
The JVM president, who has been on a dharna for the past two weeks with Congress’s Stephen Marandi at Amrapara near the Panem office in Pakur, said the company was causing losses to the state exchequer and transporters.
Babulal told The Telegraph Panem was dispatching 39-40 tonne and 42-45 tonne of coal from two sets of dumper trucks engaged in transportation of the mineral from its Amrapara unit to the railway siding in Pakur.
“However, it (Panem) prepares documents showing transportation of seven tonne less coal in each trip,” he said.
Babulal pointed out that 600 dumper trucks were engaged in transportation of coal. He added that each vehicle made at least two trips daily, which meant an excess of 8,400 tonne coal was transported by Panem every day. With excavated coal costing Rs 4,500 per tonne, the alleged financial fraud committed by Panem amounted roughly Rs 4 crore on a daily basis.
“Besides considerable losses to the transporters, the commercial tax and mining departments, too, have been incurring huge revenue losses due to the ongoing fraud by the Panem management,” he said.
He stressed that one could substantiate his claims by enquiring with the laden dumper trucks that were stranded along Panem link road — transportation route — due to the JVM-led agitation and papers available with the drivers.
Babulal also accused Panem of using a portion of the alleged misappropriated amounts to grease the palms of politicians and government officials, which he said was evident from the indifference of the state. “I demand a thorough probe into the matter by the mining and commercial tax departments followed by cancellation of the mining lease to Panem immediately. The government should also recover the amount embezzled by the company,” Babulal said.
With the government as well as the Panem management failing to negotiate with the protesters, Babulal wrote to chief minister Arjun Munda on Tuesday seeking his immediate intervention “in the interest of the local tribals”. “It appears that the state machinery and the Panem management have been playing the role of the British rulers and mahajans (money lenders) by exploiting the tribals,” he said in the letter.
The JVM chief also said, in his letter, that Panem managed to obtain thumb impressions of innocent villagers by distributing blankets and presented the same to be the gram sabha for its approval to set up a power plant in Jaraki and Chhota Paharpur villages of Amrapara.