All Coal India trucks to be GPS-mapped soon to prevent pilferage

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By Rajesh Mishra

New Delhi, Jan.16 (ANI): Union Coal Secretary Anil Swarup has said that trucks owned by public sector undertaking Coal India will be GPS-mapped within a month.

Addressing a Coal India-related event at the Imperial Hotel here last evening, Swarup revealed that the country’s production of coal in the current fiscal (2015-16) is at a record level and phenomenal, but at the same time, said that the demand for coal has dipped in comparison to the figures available for the previous fiscal (2014-15).

Swarup said this was the main reason for the government to put coal-related tenders on hold initially to prevent pilferage of the product, but added that once demand for coal picks up, the tendering process would be reactivated.

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Swarup said that the production of coal is estimated to be in the range of about four lakh tonnes currently, and it is estimated that by 2020, coal production will be in the range of about a billion tonnes.

The coal secretary said India is the world’s single largest coal miner and there is a need for the coal sector to undergo major technological upgrades to be at par with existing global mining practices that prevail in countries like the United States and Australia.

Swarup said that it is essential for the coal sector to be ICT-compliant. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), which is used to collect, store, manage and interpret data from many business activities, is also under consideration, he added.

“We are using technology to bring the coal theft down. Under the initiative 70-80 percent of trucks in Coal India have been GPS-mapped while 100 percent trucks will be covered under it in a month,” Swarup said.

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Plans for revamp include the electronic fencing of mines and CCTVs being fitted at all possible vulnerable points to check pilferage, which Swarup said is a “very serious problem.”

According to Coal India Chairman and Managing Director Sutirtha Bhattacharya, the PSU is ready for a technological jump to increase its efficiency and output.

Bhattacharya revealed that upgrading of facilities would be done through the mediums of capital and operational expenditure (CAPEX and OPEX).

“We have initiated groundwork for commercial mining and work is on to identify mines in this regard,” Swarup said.

Coal meets around 52 percent of primary commercial energy needs in India as against 29 percent the world over and about 66 per cent of country’s power generation is coal based.

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India is the third largest coal producing country in the world after China and the United States.

The government has set a production target of 550 million tonnes for the PSU for the current fiscal.

The company had missed the production target for 2014-15 by three percent, recording an output of 494.23 million tonnes. (ANI)

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