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Record output leaves CIL grappling with problem of plenty

(01 Apr 2018)

Coal India is grappling with the problem of plenty on the back of daily production rising to more than three million tonne on March 31, leaving a stockpile of over 55 million tonne at its mines - or 45% more than the expected inventory - in spite of ending 2017-18 by despatching a record 344 rakes per day.

Latest data for the financial year ending March 31 indicates the world’s largest miner speeding past several milestones, riding on the close synergy between the coal and railway ministries. This synergy enabled CIL to raise coal supply to power stations at an all-time-high of over 454 million tonne (mt), a growth of 7% over 425 mt in 2016-17.

As production rose to over 567 mt, the highest-ever, from 554 mt in 2016-17, CIL notched up a total supply of over 580 mt by drawing down its stockpile by 13 mt. Supply to non-power sector stood at 126 mt, the highest till date, against 118 mt in 2016-17, indicating a growth of 7%. 

Congratulating the “coal-rail team” for making this happen, Piyush Goyal, who is in charge of the coal and railway ministries, said in a message he expected all concerned to do their best or more to achieve the dispatch target of 681 mt in 2018-19.

But critics could still say that CIL missed the production target of 600 mt for 2017-18 by 33 mt, or 5%. The fact is that CIL may have to pare production if it has to reduce stockpile with present despatch and consumption rates. “Production is just an enabler. Despatch is what matters. Today we can vary production rate at will. Our focus should be on supplying consumers and managing our inventory to match the stock level (22 days) at power plants mandated by CEA (Central Electricty Authority),” CIL chairman Gopal Singh told TOI.

The rise in production and dispatch has resulted from a slew of measures taken by the CIL management, especially in addressing employee grievances and planning, as well as policy measures initiated by the coal and railway ministries to streamline coal movement.

This has resulted in speeding up project implementation, with the company exceeding the Rs 8,500-crore capital expenditure target for 2017-18 with a total spending of Rs 8,697 crore, indicating a target achievement of 102% in stark contrast to other large PSUs who lag.

News Source : Times of India