Centre asks states to take action to curb coal theft

Centre asks states to take action to curb coal theft

Coal-bearing states were asked by the Centre today to take appropriate steps to curb pilferage of the dry fuel from mines operated by CIL in the wake of reports of widespread theft and illegal mining activity at the country's largest miner's assets.

"Law and order is a state subject, hence the state/district administration are requested to take necessary deterrent action to stop/curb theft/black marketing," the Ministry of Coal said in a statement, adding that coal companies have initiated a number of measures on their part, including deployment of armed guards at sites.

The step assumes significance in the wake of the widening demand-supply deficit for coal in the country, which is estimated at 142 million tonnes (MT) this fiscal, despite expected cumulative output of 554 MT. CIL accounts for 80 per cent of production of the dry fuel in the country.

Outlining measures initiated by coal companies, the ministry said, "Check posts have been established at the vulnerable points, wall fencing, lighting arrangements and deployment of armed guards round-the-clock has been done around the coal dumping yards, regular patrolling is conducted in and around the mine including over burden dumps and armed guards have been deployed at railway sidings."

The statement said the firms were issuing challans for coal transportation by trucks outside the district after fixing a hologram and putting the signatures of authorised officials of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) to check theft.

Apart from lodging regular FIRs for theft by the management of CIL collieries, all steps are being taken to fill up old abandoned mines, the statement added.

Many mines run by CIL subsidiaries like Central Coalfields Ltd, Bharart Coking Coal Ltd, Mahanadi Coalfileds Ltd and Eastern Coalfields Ltd in Jharkhand, Odisha and West Bengal have reported many such incidents of theft and illegal mining.

Early this month, Eastern Coalfields said that illegal mining and increased mafia operations have brought production to a standstill at many of its mines, causing a loss of about Rs 30 crore a month.

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