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Coal India Ltd to hire retired government officials to increase production


Coal India has taken cues from private sector giants and hired former government employees to resolve issues of land acquisition, rail connectivity and corruption in tendering, in a move that helped it increase production by 12% in recent months.

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The public sector coal monopoly, often criticised for its inefficient ways of operations, has acquired huge tracts of land in few months, put rail arrangement in order and smoothened its tendering process, leading to the record production, officials in the know told ET.

They said appointments of three retired government officials a former vigilance department official, a land expert and a railway board member as advisors were decided by the government and present Coal India chairman Sutirtha Bhattacharya even before he took charge of the PSU.

The company has also made online procurement mandatory for all major purchases, resulting in huge savings. It saved nearly Rs 585 crore in a single tender for procurement of explosives for the next two years, as it implemented a reverse ebidding process.

Coal India annually spends about Rs 1,600 crore on purchase of explosives including bulk explosives, used exclusively in opencast mines, and cartridge explosives and accessories. Its coal production has increased by 12% in the quarter ended June over the same period last fiscal.

A senior Coal India official said the company towed lines of top private companies in infrastructure sectors that hire retired government officials and PSU employees for key positions.

It has appointed TK Shome, a retired secretary level official who handled land records and surveys in West Bengal, as advisor for land acquisitions. The company has acquired over 2,100 hectares of land over the past few months.

V Ramachandran, Coal India’s advisor for vigilance and procurement, is a former chief technical examiner. He helps the company in quick sourcing without any legal or audit hassles.

The firm has also engaged AK Maitra, a retired Indian Railway Traffic Services officer. Maitra joined IRTS in 1979 and retired as additional member traffic railway board. He has been incharge of freight and passenger transportation and has worked in all five railway zones.

He also spent about 25 years of his tenure in mineral-rich states of Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Jharkhand. CIL targets to double its production to one billion tonnes by 2020 and has prepared a mine-wise production plan while putting together plans for recruitment and technology sourcing.


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