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Thursday, Apr 04, 2002

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Coal India production up 4.3 per cent

Badal Sanyal

KOLKATA, April 3

COAL India Ltd (CIL) has achieved an average production growth rate of 4.3 per cent in 2001-02. Actual output touched about 280 million tonnes (m.t) as against 268 m.t last year. Similarly, CIL's coal despatch rose by 9 m.t compared to last year's despatch of about 273.8 m.t.

The higher offtake by major coal consuming industries, particularly thermal power stations, is quite significant particularly when the economy in general has not done well in the fiscal under review.

Altogether seven coal-producing subsidiaries of CIL, except Bharat Coking Coal Ltd (BCCL) and Central Coalfields Ltd (CCL) performed reasonably well, thereby giving scope to CIL to end the fiscal with a profit before tax (PBT) of about Rs 1,400 crores (provisional) on a turnover of about Rs 22,000 crores (provisional).

Available documents suggest that the financially-weak Eastern Coalfields Ltd (ECL) could produce little more than the target of 28.5 m.t, while BCCL and CCL failed to achieve the targets.

The loss of production by BCCL and CCL was well compensated by Northern Coalfields Ltd (NCL), Western Coalfields Ltd (WCL),South Eastern Coalfields Ltd (SECL) and Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL) by producing more than the targets set for them.

NCL produced 9.63 lakh tonnes more than the target of 41.5 m.t, WCL 2 m.t more than 35 m.t, SECL 1.1 m.t more than 63 m.t, and MCL 3.3 m.t more than the target of 44.5 m.t. CIL's combined production in 2001-02 was higher by 11.5 m.t compared to last year's total production of about 268 m.t.

Of the total coal offtake of around 282 m.t by different bulk coal-consuming industries, ECL's share was about 28.3 m.t, BCCL's about 25 m.t, CCL's about 33 m.t, NCL's about 42 m.t,WCL's about 38 m.t, SECL's about 65 m.t and MCL's about 49 m.t. However, CIL began the fiscal with a record low pithead stock of about 18.3 m.t as against 20.7 m.t during the same month in 2001, about 26.8 m.t in 2000, about 29.9 m.t in 1999 and about 26.4 m.t in 1998.

Meanwhile, an ECL statement has stated that the company could substantially reduce the losses in view of better performance. The provisional figure shows that against a loss of Rs 917 crores (including arrear wages) during 2000-01, the company has estimated a loss of below Rs 300 crores during 2001-02. The achievement of meeting the production and despatch targets for the second consecutive year and reducing the loss was possible due to the hard work done by all the employees, it said.

It is said that ECL has set a target of 29.5 m.t during the year 2002-03. The additional one million tonne will be achieved by optimising production from existing mines as well as outsourcing of patch deposits.

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