The move has sparked dissent among CMPDI officials, executives and unions here, as they fear it will negatively affect their pay and cause long-term problems for CIL.
On April 13, the Union Mines Ministry sent a memorandum to CMPDI management in Ranchi and announced that Pralhad Joshi, the Union Minister for Coal and Mines, had approved the merger proposal.
The memorandum, signed by the Director (Technical) of the Ministry of Mines, Pradeep Singh, instructed CMPDI management to provide details of its authorized and paid-up capital, turnover, profitability, cash, collaborations, assets, establishment and valuation and current and future manpower positions. Details, the memorandum said, were being sought before forwarding a memo to the Union Cabinet.
Although CMPDI Chairman and CEO Manoj Kumar Sinha was not available for comment when contacted, well-placed sources at the company’s headquarters (Gondwana House in Kanke Road) claimed on Thursday that details sought by the Union Ministry of Mines had been sent via email on Wednesday evening.
“This merger aims to weaken the foundations of CIL. This is only a first step as the Niti Aayog is also considering ways to divest CIL’s subsidiaries, such as Eastern Coalfields Limited (based in West Bengal) and Bharat Coking Coal Limited (based in Dhanbad), to private players. leased under the Centre’s asset monetization scheme,” DD Ramanandan, CITU leader and chairman of the All India Coal Workers Federation, said on Thursday.
Ramanandan also said that all coal workers’ unions, including the RSS-backed Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, will soon come together in a meeting to finalize the course of their protests against the proposed merger.
With a staff of over 3,100, CMPDI provides crucial support to CIL by exploring for new coal reserves, planning and designing mines, and providing technical expertise such as blasting, deadhead removal land and geological services using remote sensing technologies.
CMPDI officials are also opposed to the proposed merger. “With the merger project, the CMPDI could be separated from the CIL. This will negatively affect our salaries as MECL’s salary scale is much lower than CIL’s,” said a senior CMPDI official who preferred anonymity.
“MECL specializes only in drilling and exploration and a large part of its work order comes from CIL. If CMPDI is broken up, then CIL will face long-term problems as it will have to issue tenders to hire agencies to explore new coal reserves or obtain technical expertise,” another CMPDI official said. .