How the coal industry turned around
everyone was pushing me to make things happen. Then, coal happened. Now, everyone is pushing me to “unhappen” the coal! It is a very unusual situation. When I took over, I would get frantic calls from Chief Secretaries complaining of no coal inventory,” recalled Swarup.
In FY15, India had to import 212 million tonnes of coal. Despite all its adverse ecological implications, coal was still critical in meeting India’s energy needs. This year, coal production grew by an unthinkable 9 per cent. Coal imports have fallen by 16 per cent, resulting in India saving $4 billion in foreign exchange. “Coal production this year has improved to such an extent that I have become totally redundant. However, it is a good thing to happen!” remarked
Making it happen
Anil Swarup exhorted the electrical equipment industry to adapt itself to the changing environment. He articulated the situation as: “It is not necessarily survival of the fittest. How do you come up with a strategy to survive in an environment that is changing very fast?”
Coming to the finer details of how the coal turnaround was effected, Swarup said that three factors were responsible –land acquisition, faster environmental clearance and improvement in availability of railway rakes. Over the past 15 months, the coal ministry could acquire 2,500 ha of land for coal mining. For those that are antagonistic to coal, Swarup assured that for every hectare of coal that is mined, afforestation (green belt) of 2.4 ha was created.