CIL to get new boss

Coal India has got a new chairman and managing director after a gap of almost five months.

Sutirtha Bhattacharya, chairman and managing director of Singareni Collieries Company Limited, was selected for the post by the Public Enterprise Selection Board under the ministry of personnel, public grievances and pension.

CIL's top post became vacant when former full-time chairman S. Narsing Rao announced in May that he would move out for an administrative post under the newly elected Telengana government.

Since then, A.K. Dubey, additional secretary in the ministry of coal, has been the acting chairman.

Bhattacharya, born on August 2, 1957, and an IAS cadre of 1985, was selected from among 12 candidates which included two directors of Coal India itself - director personnel R. Mohan Das and director technical Nagendra Kumar.

Others in the fray included Central Coalfields chairman Gopal Singh, SAIL chief executive P.K. Singh and N.K. Nanda, director technical NMDC.

Prior to becoming the chairman of Singareni Collieries Company in 2012, Bhattacharya had worked as the joint collector in Kurnool and Srikakulam and the district magistrate of Prakasham district in Andhra Pradesh.

SCCL is a 51:49 joint venture between the government of Telengana and the Centre.

Bhattacharya has also served as the chief executive officer of the Jute Manufacturers Development Council.

Bhattacharya has an uphill task to raise Coal India's annual output by 9.6 per cent to 507 million tonnes in this fiscal. For the three months ended September, output grew just 5 per cent to 102.42 million tonnes from 97.60 million tonnes a year ago. It missed the production target of 482 million tonnes last fiscal, with output of 462 million tonnes.

Sources said Bhattacharya's predecessor Rao also had to meet steep annual targets even as many projects were stuck in the absence of environment and forest clearances.

Further, Coal India may have to operate those mines, which are not auctioned off this year.

Bhattacharya will also have to deal with production disruption later this month as unions protest against a proposed disinvestment move.

The government had recently said that the production of Coal India would be increased to one billion tonnes by 2019.

Coal India has seen a 28.17 per cent dip in net profit for the second quarter ended September, with higher expenses taking a toll on the earnings of the miner.

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