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COAL INDUSTRY-Coal India in Sunlight and Shadow

COAL INDUSTRY Coal India in Sunlight and Shadow K V Subrahmanyam ONE of the legacies the Indian coal industry inherited from its British counterpart was that the miner was paid for the volume of coal cut and loaded into the tubs while the owner was paid for the weight of coal sold by him. This practice came to an end in the UK when the authorities in the Government and the trade unions realised the inequities which this practice was fraught with and the provision of weighbridges', for weighing the coal produced in each mine was made legally mandatory. In India, however, weighbridges have not been provided to this day even after years of nationalisation except in those mines, like Neyveli, where the coal is supplied to the consuming centres direct from the mine by belt-conveyors and the mine workers, are time-rated.

COAL MINES- Lessons of Topa Colliery Disaster

August 7, 1982 Lessons of Topa Colliery Disaster THE roof-collapse at Topa colliery of the Central Coalfields, in which 17 mint is were swatted to death like flics under a roof-fall measuring 10 metres by 25 metres by 0.5 metre in a depil- laring area, is one of the most common causes of multiple casualties in the Indian coal mines which have been adopting the room and pillar method of mining. It was for providing against this type of accidents that systematic timbering for the support of roof in depillaring areas was made mandatory under the Indian Mines Act and the Coal Mines Regulations made thereunder in 1926. In the earlier days the tempo of mining was slow because shot-holes were hand-drilled producing small quantities of coal which could be loaded by no more than two or three miners. The blasting effect was not intensive enough to disturb the timbers already erected for support of the roof. Casualties, when they occurred, were therefore confined to one or two miners.

COAL-Still No Rational Pricing Formula

But the legal provisions are clearly weighed against the citizen. Most of them are based on laws enacted to protect the officers of allien rulers. They have sadly proved very convenient to the Government of free India to the detriment of the citizen.

Orissa Aluminium Complex

working amongst the tribals are ensuring, through organised struggle, the abolition of these remnants and the spread of the 'free' wage form.
12 For details on indebtedness and the Palemode system amongst Thane tribals, see Report of the Commissioner for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribal for 1964-65, pp 77-79; and Report of the Committee on Problems of Illicit Moneylending and Bonded Labour, Government of Maharashtra,

STEEL INDUSTRY-Paradip Another White Elephant

Paradip: Another White Elephant K V Subrahmanyam A DECISION has been taken to locate the latest public sector steel plant at Paradip, on a turn-key basis with the help of the Davy-Mckee group. The loan for it is to be repaid by exporting 50 per cent of plant's production. The decision might not be welcome to knowledgeable sections of the Indian public. The British government, however, had made herculean efforts to have the deal clinched in favour of Davy. This, it was able to bring about despite the fact that Davy- Mckee commands far less resources than the rival from Germany seeking the same contract. Moreover, Davy- Mckee has practically no experience of putting up complete steel plants compared to Mannesmann which has experience of putting up nearly a dozen plants all over the world. Both corporations belong to the EEC. And, in the depression facing their steel making and steel machinery manufacturing industry, the developed countries have been seeking solutions by seeking new markets in the third world countries. It is ominous that they have been successful in India, since their success would further undermine the base for the healthy development of the Indian steel economy.

COAL-Dismal Picture

September 5, 1981 COAL Dismal Picture K V Subrahmanyam HOLDING companies, like multinationals and conglomerates, are organisational responses to techno- economic and political pressures. The Indian coal industry was sick when S Mohan Kumaramangalam took over the portfolio of Steel, Mines and Heavy Engineering. The integrated steel plants

MINING- Workers Safety of No Account

nagar went on strike insisting that the increase in wages be made with retrospective effect from October 1978. This demand was conceded for those factories. Now unions are demanding the same for all factories. In other words, the .strike had put in black and white what the union negotiators had failed to ensure, (iii) The third lot' of arrears goes back even further to 1977-78. Again Ahmednagar was crucial and again by strike action for higher wages for farm workers. Sharad Pawar, the then labour minister in the Vasantdada Ministry made an award for the striking factories. Unions today are demanding that all factories be paid at that enhanced rate, for April 1978 to the end of that season.

COAL INDUSTRY-From Tragedy to Farce

COAL INDUSTRY NATIONALISATION FIASCO From Tragedy to Farce K V Subrahmanyam WHEN the nucleus of the public sector of the coal industry was created by bringing under the purview of the National Coal Development Corporation (NCDC) all the collieries

KERALA-Environment of Silent Valley

to start agitating for an independent Saurashtra and calls for 'village bandhs'. (Saurashtra produces almost all of Gujarat's groundnuts and accounts for nearly half of the country's output.) The demands at farmers' rallies in various parts of the state were; no compulsory levy on farmers, no levy on millers, remove restrictions on the movement of groundnut outside the state and return stocks of oil seized in the August raids. In Rajkot a Saurashtra bandh at some future date was discussed and it was decided to set up 'non-political' committees at district and taluka level to see this through. The trade in Rajkot began to express loud fears that at the 'voluntary' levy price of Rs 110 per 16 kg tin millers would not be able to offer farmers more than Rs. 60 per 20 kgs of groundnuts (compared to Rs 70 per 20 kgs earlier), They warned that farmers would refuse to sell at this low price and oil production would come to a halt.

Technology and Social Change

K V Subrahmanyam Homo Faber: Technology and Culture in India, China and the West: 1500-1972 by CIaude Alphonso Alvares; Allied Publishers, Bombay,

COAL- Myth of Cheap Indian Coal

voltage and trippings resulted in higher wastage and increased cost of plant repairs and maintenance. With the reduction in tax liability, however, net profit was higher at Rs 2.50 crores (Rs 1.84 crores). Dividend, maintained at 25 per cent, was covered 1.40 times against 1.58 times previously. In addition, the directors have proposed issue of bonus .shares in the proportion 1 : 1 and have recorded their intention to pay about 10 per cent on the expanded capital after the proposed bonus issue. The directors point out that recently there has been an acute shortage of caprolactum and DMT, the basic raw materials for the manufacture of nylon and polyester yarn, respectively, Gujarat State Fertilizers is the sole manufacturer of caprolactum and Indian Petrofils Cooperative Society of DMT. Both of them have jacked up prices by 33 per cent and 36 per cent, respectively. The drastic cut in supplies coupled with sharp increase in prices will adversely affect the company's working.

Kudremukh, Khomeini, Contractors and Consultants

Kudremukh, Khomeini, Contractors and Consultants K V Subrahmanyam WHEN, in the late sixties, the Mar- cona Corporation was faced with the possibility of a take-over by the Peruvian government of its iron ore mining facilities, it began looking out for other opportunities for exploiting its 'Marconaflow' technology of transporting, iron ore as slurry by pipeline to sea-ports, pumping in into ships' holds after thickening, transporting it by sea, diluting it for pumping back un to land, rethickening and pelletis- ing it with locally available gas. This period was witnessing a boom in international trade in iron ore and a wWld glut of oil with its well-head cast at 15 cents a barrel, the associated gas being flared in most of the OPEC countries. In the circumstances, this natural gas was treated as a 'free good' and plans were set afoot for its use in power generation and sponge iron production. This pattern of use of a precious, non-renewable fast-depleting natural resource might have been justified when the necessary technology for its use as feed-stock for chemical industry was not available. Today use of natural gas in such manner in any country with a rational energy policy ought to be "unthinkable. However, in the Middle Eastern Sheikhdoms and in Shah's Iran, natural gas continue*! to be treated as a 'Free good'.


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