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142 www. bus- ex. com December 09 Coal India is the biggest coal production company in one of the largest companies in India, with annual revenues of $ 10 billion and more than 400,000 employees. John talked to executive chairman Partha Sarathi Bhattacharyya future theFiring

December 09 www. bus- ex. com 143 in the world and revenues in excess John O'Hanlon Bhattacharyya future Firing Coal India Limited I ndia's energy problems are somewhat different from those of other countries. It is already the world's sixth largest consumer of electricity but there are still a lot of people who don't have power- inevitably the rural poor. But India has set itself the target of extending the power supply network to everyone. The national shortage of power is a major obstacle to development: more than 400 million Indians lack access to electricity and 60 per cent of Indian businesses have at best an intermittent supply. The initial target was to achieve power for all by 2012, which is now acknowledged to be unrealistic, though the executive chairman of Coal India Limited ( CIL) Partha Bhattacharyya thinks that the rate of addition to power capacity has increased considerably. Even so, the power generation capacity of the country needs to be expanded very quickly over the coming years. Though nuclear and hydroelectric generation will have their place, 80 per cent of the country's power is still being supplied from coal fired power stations. Naturally, the demand for coal is increasing. " We find the demand for thermal coal ( the grade supplied to power stations) is increasing by about 10 per cent per annum," says Bhattacharyya. Coal accounts for 55 per cent of prime energy consumption in India, and though it hasn't a monopoly, CIL meets 82 per cent of that. Or to put it another way, it directly provides 45 per cent of the country's entire energy needs. As a national institution as well as a commercial entity, CIL's mission is to provide coal to its customers at a competitive and stable price, and this it does by discounting thermal coal by up to 60 per cent compared with global prices. " This also protects our domestic customers from the large price fluctuations seen on the international markets. We help them to stay competitive by cutting the element of volatility." This has been achieved without government subsidies of any sort. " On the contrary, we make substantial profits and share them with the government, which is our sole equity holder, to the extent of $ 1.2 billion annually by way of taxes and dividends." In 2008, in recognition of this contribution, increased productivity, good management and to provide more empowerment, CIL was admitted to the select club of Navratna public sector companies, followed by the SCOPE Award for Excellence in Public Sector Management in the Institutional category, which was awarded by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Bhattacharyya on October 15, 2009. The company was also a finalist in the Platts Award Energy Producer of the Year category, 2009. Still, India does not have enough coal for its needs. The figures say it all. Last year the country consumed about 552 million tons of coal, of which 59 million was imported. Of these imports, about half are thermal coal and half