Coal India’s costs are likely to fall as it will have 40,000 fewer employees in five years and will use better equipment, helping it face private competition. It is likely to recruit 2,000-3,000 people annually, while 8,000-10,000 retire every year.
A senior company executive said Coal India will recruit people for critical and statutory positions that fall vacant. It will also offer jobs to families of people who lose land for new mines and following expansion of existing ones. “Going by our estimates, recruitment from the next year onwards will not be more than 3,000 annually,” the executive said.
Coal India’s employee strength has fallen by 57,000 since 2015 to 276,000 as of January 1. It expects manpower to contract by 97,000 from 2015 to 2024, when it is expected to produce 1 billion tonnes.
In 2017-18, wages constituted 55% of the production cost. This has fallen to 49.5%, with 23,000 fewer employees and highercapacity equipment at some mines.
“With further reduction in manpower and usage of higher capacity equipment, proportion of salaries and wages in the cost of one tonne of production will also reduce,” the executive said.
In contrast, salaries account for about 22% of a mine contractor’s cost. While a private mine contractor pays workmen Rs 15,000-25,000 a month, Coal India gives at least Rs 80,000 along with family health expenses, education, housing and other benefits.
This year, Coal India has ordered higher capacity equipment worth Rs 6,000 crore and plans to order another Rs 5,000 crore. It is acquiring higher capacity dumpers, shovels, dozers and draglines along with spares for the next 10 years.
It aims to produce 750 million tonnes in 2020-21, and 1billion tonnes by 2023-24, two years earlier than the revised target.