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Coal India set to spend Rs 200 crore on upgrading its existing GPS tracking system

On a technical overhaul drive, domestic coal giant CIL will spend Rs 200 crore initially on various areas including electronic fencing of mines on the lines of practices in advanced nations like US and Australia. The technical upgrade includes fitting all trucks meant for carrying coal with GPS tracking devices within a month to check plunder of the dry-fuel.

“Coal India will spend Rs 200 crore on initial technical overall under which all its trucks will be fitted with GPS devices besides electronic fencing of mines,” Coal Secretary Anil Swarup told PTI.

The world’s largest coal miner, which accounts for over 81 per cent of the domestic output, is adopting advanced technological practices on the lines of the US and Australia which house some large coal mining firms.

“We have initiated a number of steps to adopt advanced technical practices. These are to enhance the output of the PSU as well as to check the theft of coal. About 70-80 per cent of trucks in Coal India have already been GPS-mapped and we will cover 100 per cent trucks in a month,” Swarup said.

The move comes against the backdrop of the coal behemoth’s mandated to double its output to 1 billion tonne by 2020 to meet growing demand. Besides, the government is looking at opening up commercial coal mining to private players.

Coal India Ltd Chairman and Managing Director Sutirtha Bhattacharya said apart from fitting GPS to its trucks and electronic fencing of mines, the PSU will introduce ICT compliant machinery and parts of capex (capital expenditure) and opex (operational expenditure) will be utilized for it. The miner has lined up a capital expenditure of Rs 6,000 crore for the current fiscal.

Government said recently that a project for introduction of global positioning system (GPS) on trucks carrying coal is underway to prevent theft and diversion besides installation of CCTVs at all vulnerable points like entry and exit gates, weigh bridges and sidings to keep a regular watch.

The steps for upgradation also include Enterprise resource planning (ERP) to collect, store, manage and interpret data from many business activities, Bhattacharya said. The move for technological upgrade of Coal India also holds much significance in view of government planning to open commercial coal mining to private players for the first time in over four decades.

This follows another decision taken last month to allow the state utilities to commercially mine coal and sell to the private companies. Coal meets around 52 per cent of primary commercial energy needs in India as against 29 per cent of the world and about 66 per cent of country’s power generation is coal based. India is the 3rd largest coal producing country in the world after China and USA.

The government has set a production target of 550 million tonnes for the PSU for the current fiscal.

Source: The Financial Express

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