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Boom for coal jewel

Ranchi, Oct. 4: Central Coalfields Limited (CCL) today officially became a Mini-Ratna with the central government notification reaching the company’s headquarters in the evening.

Describing the Mini-Ratna status as “historical in the coal company’s chequered life”, chairman-cum-managing director R.P. Ritolia said: “Now the company’s target is to achieve the status of a Navratna company in the least possible time.”

“Now the CCL board is empowered to sanction projects up to Rs 300 crore. This means even mega-projects can be taken up.”

CCL is the first Mini-Ratna Category I central public sector undertaking in Jharkhand and the fifth such company under Coal India Limited.

In terms of the company’s future, this means it can take up modernisation of mines, purchase of equipment, revival plans of closed mines, and thus add a number of pits capable of producing one to two million tonnes.

Besides, it will help in speedy clearance of projects, which otherwise took six months to a year in getting sanction, Ritolia said.

The CCL board can now establish joint ventures with equity up to 5 per cent of its net worth in one company, and not more 15 per cent of the net worth putting all such investments together.

Ritolia said the CCL board has already inducted three non-official directors and can start exercising “enhanced financial and administrative powers” with immediate effect.

For CCL, it has been an uphill climb. Its net worth was minus (-) Rs163 crore at the end of 2001-02. The company started earning profit from 2002-03.

At the end of 2006-07, its net worth stood at a healthy Rs 1,686 crore, Ritolia said.

A jubilant CCL management announced that workers would be presented gifts on November 1, the company’s foundation day.

Marandi demand

Former chief minister Babulal Marandi asked Coal India Limited to give a better deal to workers and start treating them as an important part of the company.

Marandi said the coal companies are earning much more by producing more, but ironically the number of workers has dwindled and the number of executives has increased.

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