Companies & Sectors
Impending issues may create huge shortage of coal

By 2017, the demand for coal will reach a staggering 980 million tonnes whereas the supplies are expected to touch not more than 795 MT. There is, therefore, the urgent need to handle the issue in a war footing rather than admitting that there are delays due to factors of our own making—such as state government, ministerial and environmental clearances and so on

According to IA Khan, Planning Commission's Advisor on Energy, India is likely to have a shortage of 200 million tonnes (MT) of coal by the 12th Plan period, unless efforts are made to increase the indigenous production.

 

By 2017, the demand for coal will reach a staggering 980 MT whereas the supplies are expected to touch not more than 795 MT.  We are overlooking one important aspect of growing affluence in the country which generates the demand for hundreds of consumer items that need power to use them.

 

There is, therefore, the urgent need to handle the issue in a war footing rather than admitting that there are delays due to factors of our own making—such as state government, ministerial and environmental clearances and so on. Land acquisition problems created by vested interests have also added to the growing number of problems that have retarded progress in this area.

 

First of all coal production is under the government monopoly in the form of Coal India.  The ministry of coal wants to maintain its status and has issues with ministry of power and railways.  The Indian Railways, for example, is unable to make available rakes, remove mined coal from pitheads, has problems with laying new rail lines and has inordinate delays in building “dedicated rail corridors”. The construction and the speed in doing all these activities leave much to be desired.

 

Coal India, for example, has subsidiaries that mine the coal at various locations. Since it has a great number of such units, for a preliminary study, let us take a look at Eastern Coalfields (ECL), formed in 1975, which inherited all the private sector coal mines of Raniganj coalfields, and mines non-coking coal.

 

According to its website, it operates 24 open cast mines while 81 are underground, employing 78,005 people including 7,094 women in its operations.  Its proven coal reserves are 12 billion tonnes (BT) in West Bengal and 4 BT in Jharkhand, while the estimated reserves are at 47 BT. There is enough coal to meet our increasing demands.

 

While the current production is 30 MT (in the 2011-12 period), at the time of nationalization of Raniganj coalfields, the production was 21 MT in 1977.

 

This unit is under the able, technically qualified mining engineer Rakesh Sinha, its current CMD, who had joined Coal India in 1977, held various positions, before being ultimately transferred to Eastern Coalfields in 1989 and was appointed CMD in 2010.

 

Statistical data shows the progress that ECL has made under his leadership, no doubt, mentored by the holding company, Coal India, whose dynamic chairman S Narasing

Rao has taken keen interest in its progress.

 

ECL, like other subsidiaries of Coal India, knows that despite the good work put in by it, the company is unable to make great strides in the last few years simply because:

 

a) it is awaiting forestry clearance for more than five years
b) the demand expectations from project-affected persons have considerably increased.

 

Other issues, such as abandoning uneconomic mines, introduction of mechanized loading equipments, use of more modern and sophisticated equipments where possible, reduction in overall costs and improvements in safe mining techniques including training programmes are being done in a phased manner.

 

But what is the root cause for inordinate delays in the clearance from the ministry of environment and forests?  Why should this be pending for five years? Moneylife has raised this issue earlier also and has repeatedly recommended the imperative need to have tripartite meetings of the ministries concerned to resolve the issues.

 

Simply passing the buck by constituting committees is not getting us anywhere.

 

The government must give an ultimatum to all concerned to resolve the issues or simply issue an ordinance and make it binding to put a stop to these inexcusable delays.

 

One other thought that has often crossed our minds.  Instead of government going ahead with disinvestment programmes, why not simply de-nationalize these companies and let them run as profit oriented centres?  Or, even before such a radical move is thought of, why not make these subsidiaries totally independent companies and given them a time-frame of a maximum of three years to achieve set goals of production?

 

(AK Ramdas has worked with the Engineering Export Promotion Council of the ministry of commerce and was associated with various committees of the Council. His international career took him to places like Beirut, Kuwait and Dubai at a time when these were small trading outposts; and later to the US.)

User

COMMENTS

V Raghunathan

4 years ago

The suggestion of making CIL subsidiaries as independent companies with stiff deadline to achieve targets in 3 year time frame appears ridiculous since the main reason is mentioned as delay in statutory clearances which is the main reason for production not growing not only from CIL but also from captive mining blocks allocated to serious players.

Cadbury ordered to pay Rs30,000 after man finds pin in chocolate bar

After conducting a hearing, the west Tripura district consumer disputes redressal forum last week ordered Cadbury India to pay a compensation of Rs30, 000 to the complainant within a month

A consumer court in Tripura has ordered chocolate and confectionary major Cadbury India to pay a compensation of Rs30, 000 to a complainant who found an iron pin inside a chocolate bar made by the company, an official said on Wednesday.

 

“A man purchased a Cadbury chocolate on 16 December 2011, for his three-year-old daughter and found an iron pin inside the bar when the girl tried to eat it. Subsequently, he filed a complaint before a consumer forum,” a food department official told reporters in Agartala.

 

“After conducting a hearing, the west Tripura district consumer disputes redressal forum last week ordered Cadbury India to pay a compensation of Rs30, 000 to the complainant within a month.”

 

The forum, which in its judgment said the chocolate was hazardous, also asked the chocolate company to pay Rs1, 000 to the complainant towards the cost of litigation.

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RBS Financial Services India launches Real Estate Services

With the new service, in-house Real Estate Specialists will work closely with clients in order to establish their goals and understand their risk appetites. They will then work with the client to guide them to a bespoke panel of real estate service providers

RBS Financial Services, a part the Royal Bank of Scotland Group, today announced the launch of Real Estate Services (RES) in India. This new initiative follows on from the launch of Wealth Planning, which was introduced last year. RES is a referral based service which will offer a comprehensive range of real estate solutions to high net-worth (HNW) clients in India.

 

With the new service, in-house Real Estate Specialists will work closely with clients in order to establish their goals and understand their risk appetites. They will then work with the client to guide them to a bespoke panel of real estate service providers, each of whom would be selected—after diligent analysis—on the basis of their skill, market expertise, integrity and professionalism.

 

Anand Moorthy, head of Real Estate Services for RBS Financial Services said: “Intelligent investors today are looking beyond the simple purchase of premium homes. They see potential in pre-leased commercial and retail property, as well as small office spaces, structured deals and land or plotted developments. There is a fundamental need for quality real estate solutions for domestic, non-resident, individual and institutional clients”.

 

Shiv Gupta, managing director, RBS Private Banking and Director, RBS Financial Services said: “Real estate is a well understood and preferred asset class among HNWIs in India, occupying about 20%-30% of the investment portfolio of a typical HNW client and in many cases, much more. Therefore, most investment conversations are incomplete without accounting for this asset class. The ability to offer this service to our clients adds another dimension to our existing specialist coverage of other investment asset classes and to our range of products and services for high net-worth clients.”

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