Coal pilferage, recoveries on rise: Govt

Coal pilferage, recoveries on rise: Govt

New Delhi: Coal pilferage, cited as one of the major reasons for the supply shortage to consumers, is increasing in the country with authorities retrieving about 28,000 tonnes of the raw material in the last fiscal, according to an official statement.

“About 1,848 cases of coal pilferage were registered in 2007-08, when about 28,495.72 tonnes of the raw material were recovered," Minister of State for Coal Santosh Bagrodia said in a reply to the Lok Sabha.

As per records given by Coal India Limited and raids conducted by the security personnel of coal companies as well as joint raids with law and order authorities of the concerned state, the approximate quantity of coal recovered till August, 2008, stands at about 11,518.03 tonnes from 574 cases registered.

The incidents of coal theft in the country during 2006-07 was 1,819 while 21,758.48 tonnes of the fuel was recollected.

The number of pilferage cases registered were 1920 in 2005-06 and 25,164.70 tonnes of coal was regained.

However, government expressed its inability in checking such incidents. “Theft or pilferage of coal is carried out stealthily and clandestinely and as such it is not possible to exactly specify the quantity of coal that might have been stolen and losses incurred on account of the theft," he said.

Bagrodia also informed that the coal companies have chalked out measures to tackle the menace of coal pilferage which include maintaining close liaison with state authorities and training of existing security personnel.

Coal companies have cited theft as one of the major reasons for the supply shortage to consumers including steel and power companies, who have been complaining about the same that made it impossible for them to run at their full capacity.