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MCL deals land resettlement issues with sensitivity care

Odisha-based largest coal producing subsidiary of Coal India Ltd CIL Mahanadi Coalfield Ltd MCL aims to produce 250 million tonnes by 2019-20 Land acquisition resettlement rehabilitation of farmers-villagers under coal reserve areas and coal evacuation are major challenges

AK Jha
Chairman & Managing Director, MCL
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MCL plans to produce 250 million tonnes by 2020. Mining requires huge area of land. How do you plan to tackle this challenge?

Broadly speaking, we have three-four major challenges including land acquisition, resettlement, rehabilitation and coal evacuation. Land is associated with resettlement and rehabilitation issues which are very sensitive in nature. MCL deals with resettlement issue with sensitivity, care and with human emotion. Farmers’ attachment for land is quite normal and displacement becomes an emotional issue. We are taking humanitarian and pragmatic approach while dealing with such issues. We provide adequate compensation, jobs and resettlement site or cost to the farmers, villagers and land oustees. We ensure least pain is felt by them.

What are major steps MCL is taking to reduce the pain of local people including farmers?

Apart from compensation and resettlement, we have provided jobs to over 12,000 land oustees. This constitute more than the half of MCL’s total manpower. Over 100 villages have been notified for new projects. The process of land acquisition is on. When we acquire land, the family is considered a single unit, however, when we give them jobs, we take into consideration every family member above the age of 18, notwithstanding the number whether it is 1, 2 or 20. So we are committed to the local people. We are also providing skill training to them under our corporate social responsibility (CSR).

Do you have any specific hand holding scheme for farmers?

Yes. We undertake several schemes and activities under our CSR. Recently, we have sponsored 250 Below Poverty Line (BPL) Dalit farmers to avail the state government scheme that provides an irrigation facility at a subsidised investment of Rs 10,000. The small and marginal poor Dalit farmers in Sambalpur district now have their own deep bore wells in fields to water their harvest timely and produce maximum yield. The company has sponsored Rs 25,00,000 for 250 irrigation facilities to poverty-stricken farmers and boost the agriculture produce. MCL will take up such welfare and development oriented measures whenever required. Overall, we are spending over Rs 100 crore for CSR activities annually and that is more than legal requirement. For CSR, MCL works in close cooperation with district administration.

Given the challenges you mentioned, production target appears a bit ambitious. How would MCL achieve that?

First of all, we have enough coal reserve in Odisha, nearly 25 percent of the country’s reserve. So meeting the target would not be a problem. The CIL aims to produce 1 billion by 2020 and being the largest coal producer among eight of its subsidiaries, MCL would produce nearly 250 tonnes. In 2014-15, CIL produced 454 million tonnes and this fiscal we are expecting 550 million tonnes. We are very near to one-fourth of CIL’s total production. Our current pace also indicates we will achieve the target. In 2014-15, we produced 121 million tonnes and in the current fiscal we expect to touch 140 million tonnes. Our major concern is not production but evacuation and for that we have formed a separate Mahanadi Coal Rail Ltd with 54 percent equity with State government and IRCON.

Would MCL diversify into other fields?

Though we focus on our core mining business, however, MCL plans to diversify into power generation and transmission. It is setting up 800X2 super critical thermal power plant in Basundhara area of Sundargarh district. The process has just begun and it will take some time to complete all formalities. MCL is also diversifying into power transmission sector in association with Odisha government’s Power Transmission Utility (OPTCL). We are going to construct and commission a number of coal washeries in our mining areas. We also plan to push solar power in our offices and establishments. At our headquarter here, we have set up 2 MW solar plant which is saving energy cost worth Rs 44 lakh annually. We plan to set up solar rooftop units at 12 different locations.

What is MCL’s contribution to Odisha in financial term?

Overall, our contribution to Odisha’s development is immense. MCL is the top contributor to the state exchequer. Our contribution in previous year, in the form of tax/royalties went up by 5.93 percent at Rs 2003 crore. In 2013-14, it stood at Rs 1,891 crore. Last year MCL registered a profit of Rs 5,400 crore and in the first half of the current fiscal, we have already touched Rs 3,400crore. We expect more profit this year and obviously our contribution to Odisha exchequer would also go up accordingly.
 

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