Companies & Sectors
Diversion of e-auction coal to power cos will affect others: Coal ministry

Around 10% of the total coal produced by state-owned Coal India is sold through e-auction. Under e-auction, coal is sold at spot market price

New Delhi: Amid the power sector facing fuel shortage, the coal ministry has opined that diversion of a portion of e-auction coal to power producers will affect the fuel supply to other sectors, including steel and cement, reports PTI.


This follows coal minister Sriprakash Jaiswal stating that the government will divert coal under e-auction quota to power producers to meet the fuel crisis.


“Five Million Tonnes Per Annum (MTPA) of approximately 40-45 MTPA of e-auction was pertaining to the mines that have rail connectivity. This portion could be gradually diverted for use by the power sector. However, secretary, coal is of the opinion that this would affect the coal supplies to other sectors,” an official document on issues relating to coal for the power sector said.


Under e-auction, coal is sold at spot market price.


Around 10% of the total coal produced by state-owned Coal India (CIL) is sold through e-auction.


The matter had also come up for deliberations at a high-level meeting held recently. Coal secretary SK Srivastava and power secretary Uma Shankar were among those who attended the meeting.


“Keeping in view the shortfall in meeting the demand of the power sector and the obligation of CIL to honour Letter of Assurances (LoAs), the issue of reducing the quantity of coal sold by CIL, through e-auction was discussed,” the official document said.

Earlier, CIL had offered a certain portion of its coal meant for e-auction to power companies to ease coal shortage that caused frequent disruptions in electricity generation.


The power ministry had also, earlier, requested the coal ministry to provide coal supplies for power projects before going ahead with e-auction.



Dr Anantha K Ramdas

5 years ago

The very purpose of selling coal thru e-auction is to generate profit for the company, to take advantage of the shortage in the market which is primarily due to CIL's
inability to produce more. If and when they mined more coal, these are lying in the pitheads because of "logistics" and the inability of Railways to move it to the consuming point.

While profit is essential part of business, why not CIL make efforts to produce more and offer the over-production for spot market for sale?

By the way, why not offer a price reduction to those power generators who can pick coal from pitheads? Tonnes are lying at pitheads incurring "loss of interest" until moved ?

Our ministries spend time discussing issues. We need to resolve issues instead of spending time in talking about them.

Rapid action required to get the job done; not speeches please.

Economy & Nation Exclusive
Ratan Tata, toast of India Inc, bids adieu

Chairman-designate Cyrus Mistry, who made a visit to Bombay House on Friday, will on Saturday take charge of the new assignment, sources in Tata Sons said

Ratan Tata, an iconic corporate leader, retired as chairman of the Tata Group after a 50-year run Friday but kept away from office on his last day at the helm of one of country’s oldest business empires, reports PTI.


Tata, who turned 75 on Friday, is in Pune for his birthday, sources at Bombay House, headquarters of the salt-to-software conglomerate, told PTI, adding there was no clarity on whether he would visit his office later in the day.


Chairman-designate Cyrus Mistry, who made a visit to Bombay House on Friday, will on Saturday take charge of the new assignment, sources in Tata Sons said.


Mistry was groomed for the assignment by Tata for a year.


The group had earlier announced that he has been appointed chairman with effect from Saturday.


Mistry chose the group company Tata Motors entry-level sedan Indigo Manza to travel to work on the important day, marking an end to an era.


The narrow lane leading to Bombay House, one of the oldest buildings in the heritage Fort area of south Mumbai, has heavy media presence since Friday morning in anticipation of Tata visiting Bombay House.


Ratan Tata, who helmed the group for 21 years after being chosen successor by his uncle, the iconic JRD Tata, in 1991, is credited with transforming the group through bold decisions including large global acquisitions, even as some of its peers struggled to stay relevant post economic liberalisation.


Mistry, who has been with the group since 2006 in various capacities, hails from the Shapoorji Pallonji family, the largest private share holder of the group's holding company Tata Sons.


Born on 4 July 1968, Cyrus Mistry completed his graduation in civil engineering from London's Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine and followed it up with masters in Management from the London Business School.


He was chosen by a five-member panel last year to succeed Ratan Tata.


During Ratan Tata’s tenure, the group’s revenues grew manifold, totalling $100.09 billion (around Rs475,721 crore) in 2011-12 from a turnover of a mere Rs10,000 crore in 1991.


Tata led the group into some notable acquisitions, starting from Tetley by Tata Tea for $450 million in 2000, to steelmaker Corus by Tata Steel in 2007 for 6.2 billion pounds and the landmark Jaguar LandRover in 2008 for $2.3 billion by Tata Motors.


Courtesy the acquisitions, over half of the salt-to-software group's revenues are derived from outside the country.


Not limiting himself to big-ticket acquisitions, Tata also displayed sensitivity to the needs of the burgeoning middle class with the launch of the Rs1 lakh Nano battling the odds in West Bengal.


The group was forced to shift the project from Singur, where he was invited by Marxist chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya, to Sanand in Gujarat at the invitation of Narendra Modi.


Although the Nano could not live up to the expectations after its initial worldwide acclaim, the small car will still be remembered as Tata’s desire to provide a ‘safer’ option to many Indian lower-middle class families riding two-wheelers.


In a recent interview to PTI, Tata has said that Singur was a “great disappointment” because he went there “in a leap of faith” thinking that part of the country was being ignored industrially. Tatas will still go to West Bengal someday, he has said.


Under Tata, the group also made great strides when it capitalised on the sunrise industry of information technology in the 90s. With revenues of over $10 billion in 2011-12, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) is today India’s largest IT company, ahead of giants in the field like Infosys and Wipro.


On his post-retirement plans, Tata, a bachelor, has said he will spend time on technology which is quite a passion with him. He will brush up on his piano, which he learnt as a school boy and pursue flying, apart from his focus on philanthropic activities.



R Balakrishnan

5 years ago

I salute Ratan Tata for many things. For taking the group global. Most of all, for getting Bombay House rid of the satraps like Kerkar, Darbari Sheth, Rusi Mody etc and who said that without them the group would be finished. After getting rid of them, RNT has taken the group to far greater heights.
A man who came with low expectations, is going out in glory.
Wish him peace in retirement.

2012: Tumultuous year for Indian aviation

While a strike by pilots disrupted Air India operations for 58 days, Kingfisher Airlines’ engineers and pilots also struck work over non-payment of several months’ salary dues

It was not smooth sailing for the Indian aviation industry in 2012 as it saw the grounding of Kingfisher Airlines and financial trouble hitting Air India and other carriers besides a prestigious $500 million airport upgrade contract bagged by a leading Indian infra firm being terminated by the Maldives government, reports PTI.


To provide some succour to the ailing Indian carriers, the government came up with some pro-industry policies like allowing foreign airlines to invest in their Indian counterparts, but to no avail.


Even steps to check high air fares did not have the desired impact and affordable ticket prices remained a distant dream. This also led to a fall in domestic air traffic, with the passengers carried by Indian airlines dropping 2.94% between January-November compared to 2011.


A negative development was the ‘unilateral’ termination of the prestigious Male airport expansion and modernisation project contract awarded to major infrastructure firm GMR, by the Maldives government. The contract was awarded to the Indian company by the previous regime there in 2010.


The FDI liberalisation move saw no takers, though there were hopes that 2013 would witness some interested foreign airlines picking up equity in Indian carriers, some of whom were in talks on the issue.


Commenting on the FDI decision, IATA chief Tony Tyler said, “As long as high taxes prevail, high airport costs and high cost of operations exist, you are not going to get a lot of people to invest in airlines.”


While welcoming the move, he said, “Unless conditions in India are improved for the airlines, you are not going to see a flood of foreign carriers coming into the industry. Foreign capital needs a return just as anywhere else.”


The year also saw the government coming to the aid of Air India by promising additional equity of Rs30,231 crore in tranches between 2012 and 2021 provided the airline fulfils the tasks set out for it in a time-bound manner as per its Turnaround and Financial Restructuring Plans.


While a strike by pilots disrupted Air India operations for 58 days, Kingfisher Airlines’ engineers and pilots also struck work over non-payment of several months’ salary dues.


This led the airline to declare a lockout, grounding its entire operations. Soon thereafter, aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) suspended its flying permit, which in any case expires on 31st December.


The Vijay Mallya-owned carrier has now submitted an interim revival plan to resume limited operations from 2013.


But it can do so only six to eight weeks after DGCA allows it to fly again due to refresher training and medical tests of its crew.


The problems which led to the closure of Kingfisher Airlines cannot be seen as teething troubles or natural pains of an emerging sunrise sector but were more systemic in nature, industry sources said while referring to other carriers which suffered losses but carried on flying.


High taxes on jet fuel were a major concern for the entire industry which led the government to allow the carriers to directly import the item. But problems of infrastructure like storage and transportation of jet fuel to airports, which are controlled by the oil marketing firms, remained to be solved.


To check high fares, government decided to do away with the airport development fee being charged from passengers coming to and going out of Delhi and Mumbai airports from January and asking Airports Authority of India not to charge it at Kolkata and Chennai airports being developed by it.


The AAI was also asked to infuse more equity in the joint ventures operating the Delhi and Mumbai airports.


Air India also inducted the first few of the 27 Boeing 787 Dreamliners and put them into service in select domestic and international routes.


With these next-generation planes, the national carrier announced launching of new flights in its bid to expand its route network and resuming closed down domestic services, aiming to corner more passenger traffic.


A series of initiatives in this regard saw improvements in its passenger loads, revenues and some stemming of its losses.


The Indian government also decided to hive off Air India’s engineering and ground handling services into two wholly-owned subsidiaries.


The long-awaited integration of staff of the two erstwhile carriers (Indian Airlines and Air India) finally took shape after five years of their merger, with the implementation of the recommendations of the Justice Dharmadhikari Committee.


Playing a pro-active role, government also considerably opened up the air services agreements (ASAs) with other countries, allowing all Indian airlines to take advantage of it and mount more international flights.


The civil aviation ministry led by Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) chief Ajit Singh saw a new post of minister of state being created and taken over by an important Congress leader from Kerala, KC Venugopal.


It also witnessed a change of guards among its top officials, with senior bureaucrat EK Bharat Bhushan being shunted out of the ministry as the DGCA head. The year also saw Nasim Zaidi being replaced on his retirement as the Civil Aviation Secretary by KN Shrivastava.


India, along with major countries like the US, Russia and China, launched a united opposition to the European Union's move to impose a carbon tax by including aviation in its Emissions Trading System (EU-ETS). Global efforts under the International Civil Aviation Organisation are now on to work out a resolution of the issue.


The ministry was working on a legislation to create the Civil Aviation Authority, with financial and administrative autonomy, to replace DGCA. It was also in the process of creating a separate Aviation Security Force.


Though a series of statements were made regarding promoting of air connectivity to Tier-II and Tier-III cities and creation of airport and other aviation infrastructure there, concrete measures on the ground are still to be taken.



Shashikant Koppikar

5 years ago

The coverage suffers from inadequacy both in its width and depth. The major flaw being the absence of any mention of continued paralysis in finalising the Aviation Policy and several follow up measures that have been pending for years now. Even after allowing for the fact that it was an overview, major lacunae should not have been overlooked or covered so lightly.
The point regarding systemic failures should be followed up with far greater seriousness than it has been, not only here but in the media as a whole. Let the media-- print as well as electronic, show greater awareness of the problems of transportation sector in general and of the aviation sector in particular. An introspective check by them would show how badly they have fared in covering a vital infrastructure sector.
By the way, without going into the merits of the case, is cancellation of GMR's Male contract a problem pertaining to Indian aviation?

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