Coal companies mull licence raj for washeries

Mumbai, Aug 30 | Updated: Aug 31 2006, 05:30am hrs
Coal companies are contemplating introduction of a licence system for coal washeriesboth existing and those in the pipeline. It may be noted that there are over 20 washeries in the country.

According to the proposed move, a coal washery is expected to operate for 5,000 hours and later stop operations. Sources told FE, The issue was discussed at a high-level meeting on Wednesday which was attended by a representative of the coal ministry. However, no final decision has been taken in this regard.

Interestingly, the proposal has attracted strong opposition from the existing coal washeries and from those in the pipeline.

An operator of a coal washery, on condition of anonymity, noted that The move is totally against the Centres policy of removal of license raj. How can a washery restrict its operations for 5,000 hours when it is not possible to discontinue operations mid-way These washeries are rated on tonne per hour basis and not on an annual capacity basis. In a year one can operate for 4,000 hours or 6,000 hours. Besides, the Centre has been favouring clean coal and better operations of coal washeries. Coal companies should reconsider their move as it goes against the guidelines issued by the coal ministry on the setting up of coal washeries in the country.

According to the ministrys guidelines, a coal washery may be set up by coal consumers or operators on their behalf for obtaining coal of desired quality to meet the demand-supply gap of washed coal. If the washery is to be set up on the coal companys land, the company have to work as a facilitator.

Any consumer with a fuel supply agreement or long-term coal linkage with the coal company may set up a washery for his own consumption of washed coal or any private or public sector enterprise may set up one on behalf of such consumer on the land of any subsidiary company of Coal India Limited.