Battling resistance from disgruntled locals over rehabilitation and resettlement issues, Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL), one of Coal India Ltd’s (CIL) flagship subsidiaries, has rebounded in performance.
At the end of December 2019, MCL clocked an astonishing run rate of 6.97 lakh tonnes of coal production per day, proving naysayers wrong on its dwindling output.
The company registered a coal production of 6,96,641 tonne and overburden removal of 5,90,168 cubic meters for the 30th December 31, 2019. This was the highest achievement of coal production and OB (overburden) removal by the company in the month of December ever.
In fact, MCL is on course to emerge as the highest coal mining subsidiary of CIL, edging past South Eastern Coalfields Ltd (SECL). MCL has ushered in the new calendar year 2020 with higher motivation and dogged determination to meet the country’s burgeoning energy demand in the future.
In December, CIL chairman AK Jha and Additional Secretary, Ministry of Coal VK Tiwari had appraised the performance of MCL. While the acknowledged the production loss and man-days deprived owing to recurring agitations, they shared a consensual view that from November onwards, MCL’s production tempo had accelerated.
The performance of MCL, which had remained affected due to sporadic strikes and prolonged monsoon this year, has seen a rise in coal production after November 15 onward. The turnaround is led by the incessant efforts of the visionary CMD of MCL Bhola Nath Shukla.
“With the cooperation from the state administration and resilience of employees, MCL is confident towards higher coal production and supply to meet the energy demand of nation”, Shukla says.
MCL, the second largest subsidiary of monolith Coal India Ltd (CIL) after South Eastern Coalfields Ltd (SECL), incurred loss in production due to intermittent work stoppages and unavailability of land for expansion. MCL is estimated to have lost 6.07 mt due to suspension of work at coal mines while 18.04 mt output loss occurred owing to halt in mine progress stemming from land constraints.
Besides, heavy monsoon rains in this fiscal year compared to previous years, lashed MCL’s coal mines, shrinking output by 30-35 percent. In 2019, Talcher coalfields under MCL’s command area received 1597 millimeter (mm) rainfall, 31 percent higher than 2018. Ib valley coalfields, too, got 40 percent more rains in 2019 due to excess rainfall in August, September, and October.
But the bleak story of MCL is passe now, thanks to the futuristic plans mapped out by the incumbent CMD Shukla.
Having a distinguished career of 37 years in the coal industry, Mr. Shukla was Director (Technical) at Ranchi (Jharkhand)-headquartered sister subsidiary Coal Mine Planning and Design Institute Ltd (CMPDI), before taking over the charge of MCL.
A mining engineering graduate from IIT (BHU) and M.Tech in Opencast Mining from IIT (Indian School of Mines), Dhanbad, Mr. Shukla is credited for the introduction of innovative technologies into coal mining.
During his earlier stint at MCL, Mr. Shukla had held appointments in the coalfields as well as at the headquarters. While serving as Area General Manager of Hingula and Bharatpur areas in the Talcher coalfields, he had successfully managed rehabilitation and resettlement issues, leading the units to a new growth trajectory.