New Delhi: Acting on a long-standing demand from coal consumers, the government has initiated the process of restructuring the Coal Controllers’ Organisation (CCO) in order to make it independent and transparent. Until now, all the functionaries of CCO used to be employees of Coal India Limited (CIL) which gave rise to a conflict of interest since the CCO is responsible for testing the class, grade or size of coal and acts as the appellate authority in case of a dispute between coal consumers and producers on the quality of coal. In order to address these issues, the government has now brought in an independent regulator to head the organisation for the first time and is planning to recruit people through Staff Selection Commission (SSC) or through the Ministry of Coal.
Commenting on the changes, Coal Secretary Amrit Lal Meena said, “For the first time, an independent officer, other than those from the coal sector, has been brought in as a regulator at CCO. So far, all the functionaries of COO used to be employees of Coal India Ltd. So, conflict of interest was an issue. Now, we have restructured it and created new posts which would be filled up by SSC/Ministry of Coal. And they would not be employees of CIL. They would be independent.”
Explaining the rationale behind the move, the Coal Secretary said, “This will bring in transparency, independent functioning and better regulations. And now since the private sector mining is coming in a big way, there is a need to have a trustworthy regulator.”
In a statement released on Thursday, the Ministry of Coal said that CCO has said that the new sanctioned strength of CCO will be 130. Out of the total, there will be 43 Group A gazetted officers, 15 Group B gazetted officers, 16 Group B non-gazetted officers and 56 would be under Group C non-gazetted category. “The process of approval of Recruitment Rules for the sanctioned strength of 130 manpower and filling up the new sanctioned posts is under process at Ministry of Coal and Coal Controller Organisation,” said the Ministry of Coal.
“In order to align the organization with the current scenario in the coal sector reforms, Ministry of Coal had formed a four member Committee under the Chairmanship of Sh. A.N.Sahay, Ex CMD, MCL/Ex Coal Controller to review the functions of Coal Controller’s Office in November, 2019. The Committee proposed restructuring of Coal Controller Organisation with the aim to regulate the commercial mining, augment domestic coal production to achieve 1 billion Tonnes with zero import. The Restructuring of Coal Controller Organisation has finally been approved by Ministry of Finance (DOE) vide dated 20.10.2023,” said the ministry.
The Coal Controller’s Organisation is a subordinate office of the Ministry of Coal, having its offices at Kolkata, Delhi and field Offices at Dhanbad, Ranchi, Bilaspur, Nagpur, Sambalpur and Kothagudem. The Coal Controller Organisation performs various functions under different statutes/rules to ensure fair production and commercial transactions of coal including quality surveillance.