The Times of India, Kolkata
Nirmal Chandra Jha, chairman and managing director of the most valued Central public sector undertaking, is known as a ‘techno buff ’ in coal circles. A mining engineer from the prestigious Indian School of Mines, Jha was instrumental in adopting modern technology in some comparatively primitive mines of Coal India when he was the director technical of the coal behemoth. Jha’s predecessor Partha S Bhattacharyya made Coal India a Navratna from an also run PSU and had it listed. Jha has taken it to an even newer height. After becoming the most valued company in the country, the company has achieved a feat which is a dream for any corporate. Jha spoke to TOI immediately after Cola India raced past RIL. Excerpts:
Q: Coal India has become the most valued company today. What does it mean for the company?
It’s simply great. We have displaced Reliance as the most valued company and the credit goes to every member of the Coal India family. It is an achievement for all Coal Indians…We wish to continue the good run.
Q: The market has been volatile for quite some time now. Can CIL maintain its position in the top bracket for long?
We are optimistic. If you do some analysis then you will find that Coal India is the only stock which was steady and gave good returns to investors. From Rs 245 in November, it is now touching Rs 400. It had even gone up to Rs 422 at one time. In the first quarter we have achieved a 64% jump in net profit which is remarkable.
Q: Last year CIL could not achieve the production target. What about this fiscal?
Last year we missed the target by a very small margin because of various issues like problems of offtake, logistics etc. There was huge stock at pitheads. During this fiscal, our target is 452 million tonne. In the first quarter, the production was 2% less than schedule. It was 3% less in Q2. But we hope that during the second half Coal India will make up for this. We shall not miss the target this year.
Q: What are the biggest impediments as far as stepping up coal production is concerned?
There are three major concerns. These are land acquisition, environment clearance and forest clearance. Lot of projects are getting delayed due to these factors. It is not possible to achieve our power generation targets if the coal production target is not achieved.