Pulling up Coal India (CIL) for the "lame excuses" it offered for not meeting production targets year after year, a parliamentary panel has asked the state-owned firm to sort out its perennial problems.
The Maharatna firm, despite downgrading its production plan to 440 million tonnes (MT) from 460 MT last fiscal, failed to achieve the target, recording an output of just 431 MT.
Asking the state-owned firm "to refrain from offering lame excuses for lower coal production repeatedly year after year," the panel pointed out that not all reasons for low output were "beyond the control of Coal India, such as coal evacuation."
CIL has cited the denial of green clearances to projects, delays in forestry clearance, problems in evacuation and overburden removal, law and order problems in catchment areas and excessive rains as the reasons behind its low output.
Not buying the argument, the Standing Committee on Coal and Steel, in its latest report, asked the company to "prepare a comprehensive action plan to overcome these perennial problems affecting coal production so as to avoid as far as possible the mismatch between demand and supply of coal."
The Kalayan Banerjee-headed panel said that issues like evacuation of coal, finalisation of overburden removal contracts and relief and rehabilitation were not beyond the company's control.
"Had these problems been addressed timely, in the right perspective, the question of downgrading the production target would not have arisen," it said.
As per information, about 70 MT coal is lying at the pithead of various mines for about a decade now for want of evacuation facilities.