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CIL chief backs foreign funds

Calcutta, Sept. 28: The domestic coal industry needs infusion of foreign and private investments to meet future demands, said Coal India (CIL) chairman N.K. Sharma. Speaking at a seminar organised by MGMI, Sharma said the demand for coal is estimated to grow from the present 363.30 million tonnes in 2002-03 to 448 million tonnes by 2006-07 and 620 million tonnes by 2011-12.

“This uphill task calls for every effort to increase output. But with the limited resources at hand we require cost effective methods to increase productivity,” he said.

Sharma further pointed out that the investment required for technological upgradation of the industry would be a greater constraint.

“Investment from indigenous sources is not likely to come in a big way. A blend of indigenous as well as foreign investment in the mineral industry with bilateral or multilateral cooperation may carry the industry forward in the global market,” he said.

Sharma is optimistic that foreign and private investment will bring about a tremendous know-how and technology transfer component as well as competition.

Talking about the company’s underground mining activities, he admitted that CIL lags behind other countries in the sphere of productivity and cost. “Manual production makes up 45 per cent of the total underground production even after 29 years of nationalisation. Manual loading of coal, apart from being cost prohibitive, involves backbreaking manual work on the part of mine loaders. This should be done away with,” he said.

‘We need more mechanisation in underground mining and it is here that private sector investment can help,” he said.

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