Dec 27: The Ministry of Coal and the coal companies have taken various measures to achieve the objective of supplying quality coal to all consumers. Coal companies are to endeavour to achieve 100% quality satisfaction. There has been a substantial improvement in the conformity of the declared grade of coal supply from Coal India Ltd. (CIL) sources. The grade conformity has jumped to 69% in 2022-23 (till Nov’ 22) as against 51% in 2017-18.
Steps taken for improvement in quality are periodic re-gradation of coal mines, the introduction of improved mining technology like surface miners, the supply of washed coal, first mile connectivity for direct conveying of coal on the belt from the coal surface or face to a rapid loading silo, the installation of Auto Analyzers etc. Different officials/agencies are entrusted with the job of ensuring the supply of coal in conformity to the declared grades. Primary reason for grade variation is the inherent heterogeneous nature of Indian coal itself meaning, calorific value of coal extracted within the same seam at different points tends to vary.
The Coal Controller Organisation (CCO), a subordinate office under the Ministry, regularly assesses and declares coal mine grades, including undertaking annual coal mine and loading point grade declaration exercises. For enhanced customer satisfaction, special emphasis has been given to the quality management of coal from the mine to the dispatch point. Now, all the consumers of CIL have option to obtaining quality assessments of the supplies through independent third-party sampling agencies (TPSA). These accredited third-party agencies have been engaged to ascertain coal quality from loaded coal wagons and lorries as per the prescribed norms under BIS standards. Apart from the Central Institute of Mining and Fuel Research (CIMFR) and the Quality Council of India (QCI), two more agencies, namely M/s SGS India Private Ltd. (by CIL) for power and non-power sectors and M/s Mitra S K Pvt. Ltd. for power sectors, are empaneled to provide more choices of third-party agencies to consumers. All consumers of power and non-power sectors are free to take services of any of the empaneled agencies. The coal companies also share 50% of the cost of sampling by third-party agencies. Facility of joint-sampling of coal is also available to the consumers.
To infuse quality awareness at mines end, coal companies also organise quality weeks or fortnights on regular intervals with the active participation of consumer representatives. The persistent monitoring, increased awareness drives, and corrective measures are showing improvements in quality conformity in the coal supply.
CIL initially bills customers based on the declared grade of coal supplied. Such provisional bills are later adjusted once the actual coal quality is tested and established by the authorised third-party sampling agency. There is a commercial arrangement in place for the settlement and payment of debit and credit bills based on the results of third-party validation and referred sampling analysis. The overall grade compatibility of coal supply supplied by CIL is evident from the net impact of Credit and Debit note issued by CIL, which shows CIL has earned Bonus of around Rs 400 crores during 2021-22 and has already earned a bonus of around 201 crores during current fiscal till, October 2022.
The coal app UTTAM (Unlocking Transparency by Third Party Assessment of Mined Coal) is available for consumers and the general public to view the third-party validation of coal supply. Many consumers are taking advantage of this app to plan their coal usage.