April 5, 2018

Speaking at Coal Vision 2030 & launch of UTTAM app

Thank you very much for participating in this workshop. I am delighted that Coal India and the Ministry of Coal have been working to meet the needs of the country’s requirement in different sectors. Of course, there can be no doubt that power sector will always have to get the priority, because बाकी चीज़ों में तो आप लोग you are all unregulated sectors. Fertilizer and power being regulated sectors, we cannot have a situation of any sort of shortage on these two sectors, while we don’t want a shortage in any sector, but the regulated sectors will certainly need to have a priority. We can’t have any part of the country plunge into darkness or any of that.

And I must compliment all of you stakeholders of this sector and this industry that despite very serious challenges last 12 months, a huge increase in coal demand. And I am sure all my friends from the media and all of you also are well aware that this ramp up or sudden increase in demand in some ways was not entirely unanticipated, but in some ways it exceeded our anticipation. The unexpected part is that we kept telling states and power companies and others that please stock up coal before the monsoon, and unfortunately, many did not do that and then we had a lot of stress during the year.

But the unanticipated part was huge amount of rainfall. This time actually extraordinary rainfall in the mining areas, because of which mining got affected and loading of coal for dispatch got affected very severely. And maybe you may like to take out some data of that how it was extraordinarily more than previous years and give it in public domain, so people at large should know it.

Second, there was the serious stress that happened because nuclear, wind, hydro, all of these sectors were falling short of power as the CEC and CEA can confirm. So, despite all the shortages on generation in wind and hydro and nuclear, we were able to ensure adequate power availability throughout the year without any power outages all through the year.

Another very important factor that you are all aware is the honorable Supreme Court judgment because of which three companies or four companies have massively scaled down their outputs, particularly, on the western shores of India. And because of those plants cutting down outputs, and they were all import coal based plants, suddenly the demand for power from the rest of the plants shot up.

So, all in all, it’s a good news. It’s good for us that demand has gone up. We can now once again aggressively pursue our one billion tonne target, albeit now 2020 may not have much possibility or meaning because of the two years we lost in between when there was less demand. But we will work out a revised timeframe based on demand. The ideal case before me is that we should have no thermal coal imports in this country. We should aspire for that, work towards that, both coal, railways, power, shipping, all the Ministries work towards that as he was showing in the slide – can we expand the production in Odisha. As of now there are challenges over there as our colleagues from Odisha will tell us. But, hopefully, a year later from now we may not have those kind of challenges in Odisha. And we may have a more cooperative setup which allows us to ramp up production also in Odisha, but we can bring more coal to the ports of the western side, take them to the plants over there.

You need to device a framework how import based power plants can also be given domestic coal that’s something we have to work on in the Coal Ministry. सुधांशू और राजेश and Reenaji, आप तीनों इसपर थोड़ा सोचना शुरू करिए, एक मेरे को, quickly I need to see a framework to give the imported plants also availability of domestic coal. We need to work with railways, two years back I remember railways had started complaining that coal is not lifting as much as it had promised us, because of which they didn’t invest further in the coal infrastructure, whether it’s wagons or lines.

Last six months looking at the demand, we are aggressively investing in wagons; we are aggressively investing in those 14 lines, which will help us to expand supplies to the various sectors of coal through railways. We will also urge all of you to plan on MGRs, plan on conveyors, why 20 kms? I think anywhere up to 60-80, maybe even 100 kms and for 100 kms you may need to use gravity two or three times maybe. Have some mechanical push or electrical push of the material up, let it flow down by gravity and 2-3 बार एक लूप करके we can easily take it.

I am aware of iron ore slurry pipelines which are very-very long, much longer than 100 kms. So I am sure a framework can be worked on that and we can take some expert help, but I would urge all of you because it will relieve you from continuous uncertainties. If you have your own conveyor system, and for that we will give you coal from a defined mine, but of course, I am told the conveyors are also designed in a way that they have a long-term potential to move if the mine runs out of coal.

We are looking at wagon owning policy to be strengthened with a better return for those who own wagons. And I believe Coal India is drawing up a plan that going forward, they will own probably 1500 or 2000 rakes, so that they can become self-sufficient.

So we are trying to strengthen the returns on wagon owning policy, so it will excite more interest and Coal India themselves are looking at owning significant chunk of wagons and rakes, so that their self-sufficiency improves. Railways also is procuring more wagons and with the dedicated freight corridor and all coming up, we will certainly have huge amount of capacity increase. With the amount of investments we are doing on the coal lines particularly and on doubling, tripling, quadrupling of the busy routes, we do believe we will be expanding capacity significantly.

When you double or add a line in a long haul route, you don’t just double the capacity it can carry. You are all aware a single line vs a double line, you actually increase the capacity, maybe KPMG can guide me how much, but maybe 4 or 6 times, because instead of clashing going up and down you are actually having a free flow both ways. So it would be much more than twice when you double the line. So, a lot of these actions are going on. Railways has had a record here, but about that I will talk in some other forum.

We have also initiated a new policy where people can book wagons or rakes for their supplies for the next 12 months in advance. So we are drawing up a formal policy of that, it’s actually already drawn up, some customers have already taken benefit of that. I invite other customers to take benefit of that and start booking your requirements of rakes in advance for the next one year, that way you will also get a price assurance, then even if the railways increases their freight that increase will not be applicable for the next whatever period. That policy is available or will be soon made available, somebody in my team here just make sure, you, please make sure that that policy in railways comes out within public domain quickly.

The one request from all of you, you will all have to work together and again Advisor, you take a charge of this, is that all wagons and trucks that move coal have to be covered. Please prepare whatever has to be done for that. We are running out of time. I need this to be implemented post haste, whether it’s a truck or wagon, both for theft and for environmental reasons, we need to start having coal under a cover when it is being transported.

So, this has to be a resolve of this meeting today with absolutely no excuse or exception on this thing. I have just thought of it right now, I have not come prepared with any speech or any points, but these are the things that I thought are very critical before I rush to take a flight. Because I can’t be late also. आजकल फ्लाइट के लिए लेट होना तो सबसे ज्यादा खतरनाक है |

But otherwise, I have been glancing through this report. I think you need to give us a little more executive summary type of thing. This is bigger than the railway reports that I get. So far I thought only railways prepares big-big reports. Please give us a short summary, इतना …. में टाइम होता तो अभी और कितना काम कर लिया होता |

So, let’s work towards this, one billion re-establishes, prepare the timeline, see the railway network what they are doing. रेलवे में कोई विलंभ नहीं होगा, सेक्रेटरी और सीआरबी हर महीने मॉनिटर कर रहे हैं, every project, 14 projects we have identified for coal movement. Also check up with railways whether they have started the process of procurement of more wagons and locomotives, so that gradually we can have a – we should always have a surplus of wagons and locomotives. They should be behind your back, not the other way round.

So, please aggressively give them your projections, so that they can plan for the next two or three years. As you may be aware, we are now going to order wagons for three years in advance, so even the wagon manufacturers will have enough headroom and clarity of their business and they can plan their business better. And we should all rise from this interaction which you may continue if there are any more discussion points and then flag it off with me.

But we should take away from this Coal Vision 2030 interaction, all of us, both sides of the table and actually there are no two sides. We are all one. We are all citizens of our great country, of our motherland. We all want to see a superpower i.e. India, emerge in the world stage. We all want to see a better future for the citizens of India. We all want to have a better future for our roles, whatever we may be doing, public sector or private sector or government or private, whatever. We are all in it for a better future for the work that you do and for the people of India.

My best wishes to all of you and I am sure we are beginning the new year on a good note. All those decisions that I have taken, particularly, the cameras at the loading points, the weighment being integrated into this app and being publicly available, I should be able to see it when I am even travelling out of the country, anybody in the world should be able to see कि मेरी भाई लोडिंग ठीक हो रही है कि नहीं, या कोई गड़बड़ तो नहीं हो रही है मेरे काम में |

And I do hope this transparency will make sure that everybody gets their requirement of transport, coal, all of that in a very honest fashion. If there are improvements to be done, please continuously try to improve and I invite suggestions from all of you how we can make this UTTAM app also even better going forward.

Thank you very much ladies and gentlemen.



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