Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL) is gearing up to fast track coal output after suffering a production loss of 24 million tonnes (mt) in this fiscal year.
MCL, the second largest subsidiary of monolith Coal India Ltd (CIL) after South Eastern Coalfields Ltd (SECL), incurred production losses due to intermittent work stoppages and unavailability of land for expansion. MCL is estimated to have lost 6.07 mt due to suspension of work at coal mines, while 18.04 mt output loss occurred due to a halt in mine progress stemming from land constraints.
Moreover, heavy monsoon rains in this fiscal year compared to previous years, lashed MCL’s coal mines, shrinking output by 30-35 per cent. In 2019, Talcher coalfields under MCL’s command area, received 1597 millimetre (mm) rainfall, 31 per cent higher than 2018. Valley coalfields, too, got 40 per cent more rains in 2019 due to excess rainfall in August, September and October.
With the monsoon season over, MCL is aiming to maximise output and overcome shortfall in production and despatches. Levels of coal production that had sunk to 150,000 tonne per day during stoppages of work and inclement weather conditions have regained momentum with 400,000 tonne per day in output.
"However, efforts of coal miners to recover are being eclipsed due to continued dispute between Soloda and Danara villages in the periphery of Balram OCP under Hingula Area in Talcher coalfields, which has affected mining operations for the last 50 days. More than a dozen meetings of local management, district administration and villagers have taken place to thaw the stalemate occurred on October 6, 2019, but all in vain. The mining operations at Balram OCP that resumed on November 18 stopped again after three days, with villager agreeing to disagree on a pact arrived at a meeting with management and district authorities," a statement by MCL noted.
With an estimated loss of 20,000 tonne coal production and 30,000 tonne despatch daily due to stoppage, Balram open cast project (OCP) has suffered a one million tonne coal production loss. The supply of dry fuel to consumers, including National Aluminium Company (Nalco), Jindal India Thermal Power Ltd (JITPL), Jindal Steel & Power Ltd (JSPL) and GMR Energy has also fallen by 1.5 million tonnes. MCL has witnessed strikes and bandhs, with Balram OCP and Kaniha OCP in Talcher registering a record loss of working hours at 1521 hours (63 days approximately) and 1011 hrs (42 days approximately), respectively.