Allowing 100 per cent foreign direct investment (FDI) in the coal sector would neither bring competent returns nor new technology, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Ms Banerjee, in her letter, said global investors were interested in renewable energy and requested PM Modi to reconsider the decision.
Her reservations come close on heels of UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres' statement that to recover from COVID-19 economic crisis investments should not be made in coal, but non-polluting energy sources.
"This policy can neither bring foreign direct investments nor can it bring technologies or know-how which we are unable to access today," Ms Banerjee wrote in her letter to PM Modi on Thursday night.
"The recent trend and empirical evidences clearly showcase the interest of global investors more in renewable energy projects as compared to the coal mining projects. In fact, research suggests that about 100 global financial institutions have divested their thermal coal investments. Therefore, FDI in thermal coal is a far cry," she said.
The chief minister also described the move of the coal ministry to shift the desk offices of four of its subsidiary companies from the state as an "abrupt decision" and requested the prime minister to intervene in the matter.
Recently, on June 18, PM Modi had launched the virtual auction process of 41 coal blocks for commercial mining, which is expected to generate Rs 33,000 crore capital investment for the next 5-7 years.
PM Modi had said it was a major step in the direction of achieving self-reliance or "atma nirbharta".
Soon after, the Jharkhand government moved the Supreme Court seeking postponement of the proposed commercial auction of coal mines and said "there is a need for fair assessment of the social and environmental impact on the huge tribal population and the vast tracts of forest land of Jharkhand and its residents, which are likely to be adversely affected".
Like the West Bengal government, the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha-led government had also said "The negative global investment climate prevailing due to COVID-19 was unlikely to fetch reasonable returns".
With inputs from PTI