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More bad news for Adani: Coal India slashes coal prices as stockpile soars

#Goodnews" data-image-description="<div class="heading2"> <h1>2700 WORKERS WIN 10-YR BATTLE TO ENTER <a class="zem_slink" title="Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation" href="" target="_blank" rel="wikipedia">BMC</a> ROLLS</h1> </div> <div class="clrdiv"></div> <div class="classleft"><span class="byline">By Alka Dhupkar, </span></div> <div id="emailprint"></div> <div class="idsocial"></div> <div id="storydiv" class="storydiv cm_filter"> <div> <div id="LeftData" class="leftdata"> <div id="slidshdiv"></div> <div id="sshow"> <div class="cnt sshow-ad"> <div></div> <div id="bellyad"> <div class="mainimg1"> <div><a><img title="2,700 workers win 10-yr battle to enter BMC rolls" src=",width-300,resizemode-4/08-02.jpg" alt="2,700 workers win 10-yr battle to enter BMC rolls" width="300" border="0" vspace="0" /></a></div> <div class="zoomimg1"> <div>The workers with Kachara Vahatuk Shramik Sangh leaders on Friday</div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div id="ftredcmt"></div> </div> <div class="leftdata clearFix"> <div class="Normal"> <p><em>Currently on contract, the workers will be made full-time civic employees with retrospective effect.</em></p> <p>In a landmark case, <a class="zem_slink" title="Supreme court" href="" target="_blank" rel="wikipedia">the Supreme Court</a> on Friday confirmed a <a class="zem_slink" title="Mumbai" href="" target="_blank" rel="wikipedia">Bombay</a> High <a class="zem_slink" title="Court order" href="" target="_blank" rel="wikipedia">Court order</a> of December 22, 2016, making 2,700 BMC <a class="zem_slink" title="Contract" href="" target="_blank" rel="wikipedia">contractual</a> labourers who work indirectly for its solid waste management department permanent BMC employees.</p> <p>These 2,700 workers are engaged to sweep roads and markets, and collect and transport garbage.</p> <p>In 2007, the Kachara Vahatuk Shramik Sangh had filed a case for permanency with the <a class="zem_slink" title="Employment tribunal" href="" target="_blank" rel="wikipedia">Industrial Tribunal</a> on behalf of 2,700 BMC contract safai workers. The tribunal had ruled in favour of these workers on October 13, 2014. Later, the BMC challenged this in the Bombay HC.</p> <p>On December 22, 2016, the HC had ruled in favour of the Sangh, and in the order, Justice NM Jamdar had declared the contract system a “sham and bogus”. But the BMC challenged the HC order in the Supreme Court; on Friday, the SC ruled in favour of the Shramik Sangh.</p> <p>Now all 2,700 contract safai workers have been declared permanent employees of the BMC, with retrospective effect from 2014. This means they will get monetary benefits from the date of the Industrial Tribunal’s order, which is October 2014.</p> <p>Deputy Municipal Commissioner Vijay Balmwar did not respond to our calls, but a senior BMC official told <a class="zem_slink" title="Mumbai Mirror" href="" target="_blank" rel="homepage">Mumbai Mirror</a>, “The SC has said this order cannot become a precedent in the future. Also, the benefits will be given from 2014 and not from the date when the case was filed. Importantly, as per the earlier HC order, verification of all workers is mandatory before making them permanent workers. Such verification has been done for 1,600 workers; verification for the other workers will be completed, and only then will they be eligible for the SC order.”</p> <p>Milind Ranade, general secretary of the Kachara Vahatuk Shramik Sangh, said. “Today’s order is a big jolt to BMC officials who favoured big contractors and treated contractual conservancy workers badly. The court has respected the work done by these workers. This is a big victory for poor conservancy workers against the richest corporation in the country.” Ranade also said that the victory was made possible by the unorganised safai workers uniting under the umbrella of the Kachara Vahatuk Shramik Sangh.</p> <p>“The mere existence of a contractor does not mean that the contract system is unquestionable. It may be a perfect paper arrangement, but in reality, it could be the management who is the employer and not the contractor,” said Vijay Dalvi, another Shramik Sangh leader.</p> <p>Abasaheb Gaikwad, a BMC contract labourer who works in G <a class="zem_slink" title="North Ward, Queensland" href=",146.816666667&amp;spn=0.1,0.1&amp;q=-19.25,146.816666667 (North%20Ward%2C%20Queensland)&amp;t=h" target="_blank" rel="geolocation">North Ward</a>, Dharavi, as a loader, told Mumbai Mirror, “I am overwhelmed and happy that my years of hard work were recognised, and that I will now get my rightful monetary benefits.”</p> <p>“Merely because a contract existed between the employer and employee, it did not preclude the Industrial Tribunal, HC and SC from lifting the veil from ‘contract work’,” Deepak Bhalerao, president of the Shramik Sangh said.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> " data-medium-file="" data-large-file="" class="wp-image-73627 size-full" src="" sizes="(max-width: 500px) 100vw, 500px" srcset=" 300x, 500x" alt="rsz_shutterstock_124552501-2" width="500" height="332" />


The world’s largest coal miner Coal India has opted to cut prices rather than its ballooning domestic mine production.

Coal India and its customers now have a massive stockpile of 97 million tonnes.

Just over a month ago I and Ashish Fernandes  from Greenpeace noted that Coal India’s stockpiles had grown to 84 million tonnes, with the mostly publicly-owned company grudgingly informing the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) that this would “create stock management problems, deterioration in quality of coal and coal may catch fire.”

The stockpiles have now grown to 97 million tonnes comprising 58 million tonnes at Coal India’s mines and a further 39 million tonnes at its customers power plants, not that the company has informed the BSE of this. The company’s latest announcement to the BSE cryptically stated only that they have “given up performance incentive” for “supplying higher grades of coal” in order to “improve lifting of coal.”

This decision, Coal India lamented in its announcement to the BSE, “was taken due to fall in international coal prices, improved supply of coal by CIL and there is a sluggishness in coal demand in general and higher grades of coal in particular.”

Back in late January when the massive stockpiles was becoming an issue in the Indian media, the Minister for Power and Coal, Piyush Goyal, insisted that – while he couldn’t direct the government-owned enterprise on pricing –  “all I asked them is to get out the stock.”

Despite its best efforts, Coal India couldn’t.

Since January Indian power generators have also been in the ever-tightening grip of drought which has seen a number of water-cooled coal plants shut down.

Early in March the Economic Times cited an anonymous senior official of Coal India who said:

“The power companies are not in a position to take any additional coal and we are being requested, both officially and unofficially, to cut supplies, which has prompted us to scale down production at several other mines apart from the ones where we have stopped production temporarily.”

However, while scaling down production would have been a logical response, Indian Government ministers were transfixed with the idea that the bigger the production number for the March 31 end of financial year, the better everything would be.

Ultimately Coal India reported they produced 536 million tonnes, but now they face a stockpile equivalent to just under a fifth of their annual production.

Faced with a choice of cutting production or prices they have opted for the latter.

In early March an anonymous Coal India executive was quoted in the Indian financial news outlet Livemint stating that cutting the price of coal to boost sales would have “far-reaching unfavourable implications” for the company’s profitability.

Now Coal India has embraced price cuts of between 10-40 per cent until the end of March 2017 in a desperate bid to liquidate combustion-prone stockpiles.

Coal India’s decision to slash prices on its upper grades of coal – which it has also signalled could be extended to lower quality coal – is targeted at further undermining coal imports.

Coal India’s decision is a death knell for Adani’s proposed Carmichael coal mine, which is predicated on the increasingly fanciful notion that the company can profitably export 60 million tonnes of low-grade thermal coal a year into an oversupplied global market dominated by loss-making coal companies.

Coal India’s domestic coal production boom though has come at a terrible cost imposed on farmland, scarce water, forests and innumerable communities.

Coal India is betting that, in taking a financial hit over the next year, domestic coal consumption will inevitably climb ever more upwards as the financial problems of the state-based distribution utilities ease.


When the boom-time prices prevailed in the global coal market a raft of Indian companies – including Adani, Jindal, Reliance and the ICVL consortium of NTPC, Coal India and others – had grand dreams of buying or building mines from Australia to Indonesia to South Africa and Mozambique.

While the projects – once touted as the next big thing in coal industry circles – have now largely withered on the vine, Coal India has now embraced a business strategy aimed at undermining the very imports major Indian companies once extolled as essential and inevitable.

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