Apropos of the column Cleaning the coal mess by Sidharth Birla (FE, January 15), the umbilical cord between CMDPI and CIL indeed needs to be severed, as the author has pointed out. Having lived in Jharkhand, I wish to point out that little attention has been paid to the coal mafia in coal belts, which I believe exists because of the problem and complicates the problem further. Our coal production is much more than the official figures because a significant amount is routed through the coal mafia and, thus, is absent from the books. The problem of the thriving coal mafia and how big a part of the coal mess has even received attention from filmmakers (Remember Gangs of Wqasseypur?). Secondly, PPP could be a welcome change but the mess can only be cleansed if the mafia-politician-businessmen" nexus is streamlined and all three are made accountable.
AAP's flawed approach
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) pursued aam aadmi politics, got unexpected support of aam aadmi in the Delhi assembly polls and rode to power. However, the AAP governments reversal of the previous governments considered decision of allowing FDI in multibrand retail is regressive and a disservice to farmers and aam aadmi. It only benefits the groups of middlemen and hoarders. Besides generating employment, foreign supermarkets have the potential to eliminate the middleman and procure directly from the farmers paying them higher prices for their produce while providing products of better quality at lesser price to consumers. If the AAP formed the government by going for a referendum and the party's senior member Prashant Bhushan called for a referendum on the deployment of security forces in Kashmir and Maoist-affected areas, why didn't the AAP go for a referendum on the governments crucial decision on banning foreign multibrand retailing in Delhi which affects the aam aadmi in a big way?
MC Joshi, Lucknow