AK Jha, Chairman, Coal India Ltd (CIL)
Ever since his coronation as the Chairman, AK Jha(Powering Coal-Fired Growth) has proved to be a talisman for Coal India Ltd (CIL). Jha, formerly, the CMD of Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL), the second-largest subsidiary of CIL, has been making assiduous efforts to improve the efficiency and profitability of the coal monolith.
Under his dynamic and result-oriented leadership, CIL posted a net profit of Rs 3522 crore, marking a growth of 14 percent year-on-year (y-o-y). The company’s realizations were also higher on more supplies to non-power consumers.
Jha(Powering Coal-Fired Growth) is expanding the scope of modern, mechanized mining. In this context, CIL will invest between Rs 15000 and Rs 20000 crore to switch over to mechanized coal handling and loading systems at its mines.
The plan will be implemented across 35 projects of CIL with an annual production capacity of four million tonnes and beyond. The move is part of CIL’s thrust on green initiatives and upgradation of mechanized loading system in first-mile connectivity- coal transport from pithead to despatch points.
Jha(Powering Coal-Fired Growth) says that production has always been CIL’s forte. “Last year, India produced 730 million tonnes (MT) and used 965 MT of coal. So, we imported around 235 MT. India has a coal reserve of 320 billion tonnes so it is imperative that we use it to the fullest extent to reduce our energy imports as much as possible. Coal India has set a target for 2025-2026 to produce 1 billion tonnes of coal. This year, we tried to keep the growth at around 8%, but unfortunately due to extended monsoons, which is continuing even in this month, our production has been hit”, he said.
But when it comes to mining, there are still a few uncertainties. About 95 percent of our production comes from land-intensive open-cast mines. With each passing year, land acquisition and possession is becoming tougher.
So, if the process of land acquisition is expedited, I don’t see any reason for not attaining a growth of 50-60 MT a year. Secondly, all major coalfields are situated in the eastern part of India, where the law and order situation in some of the places is not that good.
In the case of ECL, BCCL and CCL, there are a lot of issues. While the government is asking CIL to produce more coal, it is also giving much emphasis on renewable capacity addition
“My belief is that coal production will reach a plateau at 1.5 billion tonnes by 2026 when CIL will produce 1 billion tonnes per annum and other agencies around 500 mtpa. At that time, renewables will be in greater focus and caps will be placed on the use of coal for climatic considerations”, he added.