The Coal Ministry has formed a panel to examine the applications received for appointing consultants for restructuring of the Coal India (CIL).

The development comes on the heels of the government inviting bids for appointment of advisors to restructure the nation’s largest coal producer.

“For examination/evaluation of the applications received in the Ministry in context of restructuring of Coal India (CIL), a committee has been constituted,” an official memorandum said. The six-member panel would be chaired by Advisor (Projects) in the Coal Ministry, it said.

The Planning Commission and many high-level panels, including Expert Committee on Road Map for coal sector reforms - also known as T.L. Shankar Committee - have recommended the restructuring of CIL keeping in view the rapidly increasing demand of coal and the need for enhancing coal production and to make the coal sector competitive.

The Planning Commission had earlier suggested spinning off CIL subsidiaries into separate entities so that each one of them can pursue its own goals, amid growing supply deficit of coal.

One of the world’s largest coal-miner CIL has seven subsidiaries such as Bharat Coking Coal Ltd (BCCL), Central Coalfields Ltd (CCL), and Eastern Coalfields Ltd (ECL) and Central Mine Planning and Design Institute Ltd. The coal producer has 3.71 lakh employees.

The Planning Commission has estimated that the coal import could go up to 185 million tonnes (MT) at the end of the 12th Plan based on total coal demand of 980 MT and domestic supply of 795 MT. Imports could further increase if the domestic production does not grow by 8 per cent as projected.

India’s coal output was 540 MT during 2011-12 against the demand of 640 MT.

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