Coal india stares at manpower shortage
Nov 02, 2010
Business Standard, Kolkata
There may be trouble at the top for Coal India Limited (CIL). The state-run miner, which recently raised a record Rs 15,000 crore from the markets, is running short of executive manpower, even as it looks at expanding production to meet rising coal demand in the country.
CIL, the world's largest coal mining company, currently has an executive wing comprising about 15,000 officers, part of a total workforce of about 3,90,000 employees spread across eight subsidiaries nationwide.
"The non-recruitment period for about 12 years, starting in 1995 till 2006-07, has had an impact. Since then, in the last three years, we have been able to recruit about 3,000 new employees, including from premier institutes like IITs and IIMs. But as senior executives reach retirement (age), we are losing out on so many experienced people,” CIL chairman Partha S Bhattacharyya said.
Bhattacharyya, who himself is up for retirement early next year, speaking on the sidelines of CIL’s 35th foundation day celebration, however, played down the situation by later adding, “We will be able to make up for this by recruiting in large numbers at one go. This will not be a problem.”
Apart from Bhattacharyya, CIL's director (technical) NC Jha has less than two years left and AK Sinha, director (marketing), is also on his way out.
However, how the company will make up for the loss of experienced manpower to attrition and manpower is unclear. “The drop in manpower is recurrent. When I joined the company, the executive strength was 21,000. Now, it stands at around 15,000,” Jha said.
“The average age of CIL executives is around 47, but this number will slowly come down as we start inducting more employees from a junior level,” another company official added.
Fails to meet production target in H1
For the first half of this year, CIL has been unable to meet its production target. “For the first six months, the production stood at 185.7 million tonnes (mt), which is one per cent more than last years', but 16.5 mt short of our target,” the company's director (technical) NC Jha said.
The company, however, has exposed more coal by removing an additional 11.7 per cent overburden, as compared to last year, and is likely to be able to meet its annual target of 465.6 mt, he added.
“But stockpiles is becoming a problem. Last year, we ended with 63 mt of stocks, which we reduced by 15 mt. But the evacuation problems are continuing, and the Railway rakes provided are inadequate. If we meet our production target this year, we will be left with 85 mt of stocks,” Jha said.