Partha S. Bhattacharya, who was the chairman and managing director of Coal India Ltd (CIL) between 2006 and 2011, is credited with turning around the PSU. He spoke to Arindam Mukherjee on the heat and dust generated by the CAG report on allocation of coal blocks to private players. Excerpts:
Should the government allow the private sector into coal mining?
There is plenty of coal for everyone. We are, at the moment, mining only one per cent of our 28 billion tonne reserve. CIL alone is not in a position to cope with the rising demand and hence there is no option but to allow the private sector into coal mining. A large part of our coal is used by power companies, many of whom are in the private sector.
What is your assessment of the government’s policy for coal block allocation?
There is nothing wrong in the process of allocation with the recommendation of the state governments and the involvement of administrative ministries. The overall policy