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An environment-conscious coal PSU

Western Coalfields Limited (WCL) is a subsidiary of Navratna public sector undertaking, Coal India Limited. It was set up in 1975 with its head office in Nagpur, Maharashtra. Hindustan Times caught up with its chairman and managing director D.C. Garg to talk about the company. Excerpts:

business Updated: Oct 03, 2010 23:38 IST

Western Coalfields Limited (WCL) is a subsidiary of Navratna public sector undertaking, Coal India Limited. It was set up in 1975 with its head office in Nagpur, Maharashtra. Hindustan Times caught up with its chairman and managing director D.C. Garg to talk about the company. Excerpts:

What are WCL’s capacity addition plans during the XIth Plan?

We have envisaged 33 new projects at capital outlay of R7,042 crore. At the moment, 31 ongoing projects that will add 28.26 million tonne capacity at capital outlay of R1,398 crore are at different stages of implementation.

In view of the strict environment norms, are you facing any difficulties in any of your projects?

We at WCL operate all of our 85 mines with valid environmental clearances. We have planted about 17 million trees in our command area with tree density of 2,500 trees per hectare. However, coal-based ancillary industries, which mushroom the mining areas, sometimes fail to mitigate the environmental damages and the coal companies have to face the brunt of ministry of environment and forests during environmental clearance process. At WCL, we have not been denied clearances, but facing delays in certain areas.

In several areas, land oustees are not happy with the official relief and rehabilitation (R&R) packages. What has been your experience in this regard?

Population in WCL command areas are not industry reverse. The Human Development Index in the five districts — Chandrapur, Nagpur, Betul, Yavatmal and Chhindwara — is quite high, as literacy rate is 65 per cent plus. They are ready to give land, subject to resolution of the issue of land compensation, as main bottleneck in acquiring land has been the exorbitant demand of land compensation and employment.

Corporate Social Responsibility has been gaining importance these days. What initiatives has WCL taken?

We have revamped our CSR Policy by extending its reach to 15-km radius and reserving a kitty of about R23 crore for 2010-11 at the rate of R5 per tonne of production. The CSR policy broadly covers education, water supply, health care, environment management, infrastructure support, employment generation and encouraging sports, among others.
In 2009-10, WCL conducted 135 medical camps in and around its command area, constructed 6.3 km roads and commissioned 51 tube wells under CSR initiatives.

What are your views on the proposed 26 per cent profit sharing with the local population as per draft Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Bill?

We support the policy on distributive justice for the local populace affected by mining projects. They are one of our key stakeholders.