ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Tame End of Coal Bravado

THE industry was taken by surprise when coal was decontrolled. But consumers were not surprised when the collieries bravely tried to form a price cartel. There were, after all, Government-sponsored precedents in the Joint Plants Committee for Steel and the Cement Allocation and Co- o dinating Organisation, and the erypto-cartellised associations in chemicals and soap, among others. Coal arrived rather late on the scene for such arrangements, and too soon after market freedom was thrust on it. The industry counted without the massive retaliatory power of railways, steel plants and other bulk consumers, eager to cut their recession losses and wreak vengeance for off-grade supplies in the past. Its own fragmentation and shaky finances should have made the industry more careful before adopting an untenable stand.

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