Coal secy seeks Bengal support for ECL revival

Kolkata, Jan 25 | Updated: Jan 26 2005, 05:30am hrs
Union coal secretary PC Parikh on Wednesday sought the support of the West Bengal government for the revival of chronic loss-making Eastern Coalfields Ltd. However, the state government has demanded a major share of the additional coal being lifted by ECL to support small and tiny consumers of the state.

Mr Parikh, along with ECL chairman and managing director Abdul Kalam, met West Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, industry minister Nirupam Sen and power minister Mrinal Banerjee.

I sought the state governments backup support for ECLs expansion and revival, Mr Parikh told reporters after the meeting. In fact, ECL is on a revival path. But the implementation of the BIFR (Board for Industrial & Financial Reconstruction) package would ensure it, he said.

Although he did not clarify what he meant when he spoke of backup support, coal industry sources indicated that he had asked the state government to restrain militant trade union activities in ECL.

The coal secretary would also meet the Jharkhand chief minister soon to seek the support of the state for this purpose, as ECL mines are located in these two states. The BIFR has already approved a Rs 1,532-crore revival package for ECL.