Anil Swarup addresses the Eighth India Coal Summit

Anil Swarup_ias_indianbureaucracy_coal_secretary_ India Coal Summit
Anil Swarup_ias_indianbureaucracy_coal_secretary_ India Coal Summit

Indian Chamber of Commerce in association with Ministry of Coal and Ministry of Steel, Government of India organized the “8th India Coal Summit” in New Delhi on 22nd June 2016. The Summit focussed on subjects like ‘Innovations in Mining Technology & Equipment, Focus on enhancing Productivity-Policy & Regulatory Framework, Governance in Coal Mining: Issues & Challenges, Coal for Power Generation in India: Strategic Issues & Challenges.’ The summit, eighth in series, has evolved as one of the prominent conferences on the coal industry in the country.

The eminent speakers of the conference were, Shri Anil Swarup, Secretary, Ministry of Coal, Government of India, Shri Malay Chatterji, CMD, KIOCL, Shri SK Acharya, CMD, Neyveli Lignite, Shri B B Singh,CMD, MSTC, Shri Pukhraj Sethiya, Associate Director, PWC and Shri S K Roongta, Chairman – ICC National Expert Committee on Minerals & Metals. Shri Shiv Siddhant Kaul, President, ICC addressed the summit.

On this occasion, PWC has prepared a Knowledge Document which highlights the basic overview of the coal sector. The report was released by the Chief Guest Shri Anil Swarup and other dignitaries present during the Inaugural Session.

Shri Anil Swarup, Secretary, Coal, Government of India addressing the coal summit, asked all the stakeholders present at the summit to come up with suggestions for the problems associated with the coal sector. He said that underground mining in India is important from environment perspective but it is also important to understand that why it didn’t happen in the country till now. The reason stated is the cost of underground mining that is 3-4 times expensive. He also said that it is not correct to state that coal produced through open cast mining is inferior in quality. He stated that the coal sector has transformed immensely from shortages to surplus and he is very happy that he could able to bring in such change in the coal sector. He believes in transparent mechanism of auctioning of coal. There are no shortages of coal in the country but if anybody wants to get the coal, he has to go through the process of auctioning. No coal will be given without the proper mechanism.

The issues of coal shortages are resolved, however, new issues need to be addressed now. The issue of logistics is being taken care by the ministry of coal and ministry of railways. The evacuation of coal is primary focus now. Although various railway lines and linkages have been constructed and they will soon be in operation. The most important being the East West corridor, he mentioned. Issues of environment and transportation of ash is also being taken care of. Additional 50 washeries have been set up. He also mentioned that market situation of recent times is not conducive for commercial mining. He mentioned that in order to achieve the ambitious plan of the government of producing 1 billion tonnes of coal, new technology is required that will improve efficiency and safety.

Shri Malay Chatterji, CMD, KIOCL, said that mining industry has learnt to unlock the potential. He spoke at length about the technology is being used in KIOCL to increase efficiency and production. Innovation in technology is necessary to compete with global counterparts in combating input and production cost. There is also a need to strengthen the management to rationalize and to have command over the demand and supply gap. Talent shortages is very acute in mining industry which needs to be addressed urgently.

Shri B B Singh, CMD, MSTC spoke at length about the e-auction of coal and mines and the role MSTC played in making e-commerce in place and made the e-auction of coal successful. MSTC has developed e-auction of coal linkages in very short period of time and also extended its services for sponge iron. E-auction has also been extended to 7 sectors. He also spoke about the technology used and mentioned that e-commerce is the main focus area of MSTC for ferrous and non-ferrous sectors as well.

Shri Pukhraj Sethiya, Associate Director, Mining and Metal, PWC said that import of coal in India is standing at 188 million tonnes this year which is still on a higher side even after a fall of import at a considerable amount. Supply of coal has increased but offtake has increased to hardly 2 %. He mentioned that underground mining has to be focused more than open cast mine. India is far behind in production compared to China. Technological innovation is very much required. Global supply of coal is available at cheaper rate so at this time it is important to find out whether the policies are in right track of only allocating coal. He also said that India needs an investment to the tune of Rs 10 lakh thousand crore to realize the production of 1 billion tonnes which is the ambitious target of the government of India.

Shri S K Roongta, Chairman, ICC Expert committee on Minerals and metals appreciated the ministry of coal, government of India for transforming the sector to such a great extent in last 2 years. Speaking on the occasion he mentioned a few points like inferior coal quality utilization which has pushed up the cost of production of some of the power plants, 16 mines are allotted to the coal bearing states for end users and Coal India will achieve the production of coal to 1 billion tonnes. He feels that in order to address the new challenges it is important to adopt the new technology to replace the old plants. He also said that apart from Coal India, other companies like KIOCL, NMDC may be allowed to take up mining of coal as well. Free market for coal may be introduced. Ease of doing business for end users may be considered.

Shri Shiv Siddhant Kaul, President, Indian Chamber of Commerce appreciated Coal India for its remarkable stewardship in getting coal sector out of mess. There is huge transformation of the sector in terms of transparency, increasing productivity and capacity. The broader issues of demand and supply has been addressed. He congratulated government of India for resolving all the issues. However, he mentioned two issues which need to be addressed. If any scheme is implemented to address the issue of demand for coal for the power sector. Secondly, the logistic issue is the most important now, as evacuation of coal by private miners is one of the challenges they are facing. Although, ministry of coal and ministry of railways are working together to resolve the issue of coal evacuation to a large extent.

Coal, the most important and abundant fossil fuel in India, accounts for more than half of the country’s energy need. It is apparent that coal will retain its predominant role in India’s future energy mix scenario. India, like other emerging economies, looks set to remain dependent on coal in the short to medium term for its economic growth. As countries begin to confront coal’s environmental impacts, policymakers and industry alike, must now address important questions of sustainability and environmental responsibility in its management and use.While coal auctions have seen aggressive bids, the challenge now lies in how to control the mining costs and ensure maximum recovery of resources. Certainly, a lot will depend on how efficiently and quickly these blocks can be developed to justify the nature of winning bid prices and level of investment required for developing these blocks. Adequate support will definitely be required from the Government. wishes the very best.

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