Kolkata: Coal India Limited (CIL) Chairman Pramod Agarwal (IAS) sounded an upbeat note on Monday and said that the Maharatna coal company is confident of retaining its flagship position as the country's leading coal producer, notwithstanding the opening up of the coal sector to private players for commercial mining. Agrawal said, "Commercial coal mining is not going to adversely impact the production or profitability of the company. Key issues which will help (CIL) to stay ahead of the competition include uniform quality of coal, cost efficiency in production and reliable timely delivery schedule. Introduction of the higher degree of mechanised mining and increased supplies are other focus points."
'Commercial mining should not unsettle us'
Allaying the apprehension that the entry of private entrepreneurs in commercial coal mining operations may shrink Coal India's role, a company executive said, "Commercial mining complements our efforts in shoring up the country's indigenous coal output, but may not be viewed as competition to Coal India. It would not unsettle us."
'None of the 41 coal blocks up for auction belong to Coal India'
CIL holds close to 54 percent of the country's entire coal resource base of 319 Billion Tonnes (BT). The allocation of 16 blocks few months back by the government to the state-owned Maharatna PSU saw its resource capacity swell by around 9 BT to 172 BT. Of these, WCL and BCCL, subsidiaries of Coal India, account for five blocks each. ECL has three blocks, whereas two belong to CCL and one to MCL. None of the 41 blocks put up for commercial mining auction belong to Coal India.
'CIL has been working on becoming a cost-efficient producer of coal'
"Irrespective of impending competition, CIL has been working on tightening its belt in becoming a cost-efficient producer in lowering the cost-per-tonne of coal produced and focusing on improved quality of coal supply. These two factors will determine the sale of coal in the competitive environment," said the company in an official statement.
CIL's advantage of over four and half decades of core competence, skilled human resource, established infrastructure, streamlined operations, infusion of capital in upgrading the technology and evacuation logistics, robust coal resource base and a slew of consumer-friendly measures will give it an edge, it added.
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