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Exceeding targets with less staff

Western Coalfields Limited (WCL) is a subsidiary of Coal India Limited (CIL) and was set up in 1975 with its head office at Nagpur in Maharashtra. It is engaged in mining through 86 mines spread across Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. Its chairman and managing director DC Garg spoke to HT on a range of issues. Excerpts

business Updated: Feb 07, 2010 23:40 IST
Gaurav Choudhury

Western Coalfields Limited (WCL) is a subsidiary of Coal India Limited (CIL) and was set up in 1975 with its head office at Nagpur in Maharashtra. It is engaged in mining through 86 mines spread across Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. Its chairman and managing director DC Garg spoke to HT on a range of issues. Excerpts:

Coal production by WCL exceeded the 2008-09 target and is ahead of its target till January 2010 this year. What is driving this growth?

WCL has produced 37.46 million tonnes of coal during the period April 2009 to January 2010, as against the target of 36.57 million tonnes, which is an 102.4 per cent achievement and a growth of 3.3 per cent against last year's 36.26 million tonnes. We are set to exceed the 2009-10 annual action plan target by 1 million tonnes by producing 46 million tonnes this financial year. We have taken some strategic initiatives such as renewal of fleet by replacing old equipments, thrust on haul roads and infusion of new technology in underground mines.

What is your capacity addition programme?

We have envisaged 33 new projects during the 11th plan period ( 2007-12) with a capital outlay of Rs 8,143 crores to add a capacity of 48.28 million tonnes. Currently, 31 ongoing projects to add 28.26 million tonnes capacity at capital outlay of Rs 1,398 crore are at different stages of implementation.

WCL's production is increasing every year with corresponding reduction in manpower. How is it possible?

The production of WCL has increased from the level of 39.53 million tonnes in 2003-04 to 46 million tonnes anticipated in 2009-10 whereas manpower has reduced from 73,000 to 62,000. To put it in perspective, it is a reduction of manpower at the rate of 2000 per year with an incremental production of 1 million tonne every year. In fact, it has been possible due to our thrust in mechanisation in underground mining. As of date we source our 92 per cent of underground production from mechanised districts.

In several areas peasants who own land are opposing mining companies, both public and private and they are unhappy with the official relief and rehabilitation packages. What is your own experience in this regard?

The population in WCL command area is not industry averse. Human development indices in the five districts of Chandrapur, Yavatmal, Nagpur, Chhindwara and Betul are 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. The main bottleneck has been the exorbitant demand of land compensation and employment.

One major problem faced by the coal sector is congestion on existing railway network and not many new lines are laid down to evacuate coal from the new mines. How is WCL tackling this problem?

WCL has not been affected due to this problem as our major consumer has been MAHAGENCO, which accounts for 67 per cent of our dispatches. Other power utilities are situated in Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana.