Shekhar Saran is the Chairman of the Board of Central Mine Planning & Design Institute Limited, one of the largest Coal and Mineral Exploration and Consultancy Company across the country. He is widely recognized for his path breaking and visionary contributions to the industry as Mechanized Mine Developer and transformed the landscape of the Mines by setting new standards in production and productivity. He joined CMPDI as Director (Technical) in June, 2013 and looked after Coal Resource Development and then Planning & Design till December, 2015 and then he took over as Chairman-cum-Managing Director of CMPDI in 2016. He graduated from 1981 batch from the Deptt. Of Mining Engineering, Institute of technology, Banaras Hindu University (BHU), now IIT (BHU). Being the topper of his batch he is the recipient of BHU Gold Medal as well as Roberton Medal from MGMI. Subsequently, during 2013-15, he has added to his credit a Post-Graduate diploma PG Exp from IIM, Ranchi.

He is also an NCC Certificate holder & a good sportsman. He is widely credited with conceptualizing unique and innovative techniques in Coal Mining Production. He has been a firm believer in corporate life and its superiority in the development of human resources.

Q. What is the role of CMPDI? Why the need of this organization was felt by the government?

A. Central Mine Planning & Design Institute Limited (CMPDI) is a Government of India enterprise and a Mini-Ratna Category II company having its corporate headquarters at Ranchi in India. It is a fully owned subsidiary of Coal India Limited (CIL). The services of CMPDI fall under the following two broad heads.

Business Roles:
To render consultancy and technical support for mineral exploration, mining, infrastructure engineering, environmental management, and management systems, for coal and non-coal and its allied sectors, within India and abroad.

Corporate Roles:

  1. Assisting Ministry of Coal (MoC) and Planning Commission for strategic decisions relating to coal-sector at the national level, eg, through maintaining inventories of coal deposits, coal mining potentials and operations, etc.
  2. Functioning as a nodal agency on behalf of Government of India, e.g. for schemes funded by MoC viz S&T projects, exploration work in non-CIL blocks, Environmental Measures and Subsidence Control (EMSC) projects, and CBM clearing house; and for projects funded by CIL R&D Board.
  3. Liaison between MoC, CIL and its subsidiary companies on technical and operational matters.
  4. Working as an in-house planner and guide for coal-producing companies under CIL as their integral part.

Need of this organization:
There was/is the need for a consultant who can render comprehensive consultancy services in the field of coal exploration, mining and allied infrastructural planning, environmental management, etc. CMPDI provides all these services under one roof. Through its planning services, CMPDI facilitates selection of appropriate technology/strategic options to operate for coal companies to keep pace with the growth and latest technological developments in the mineral and mining industry in line with the countrys energy demand.

Q. How long CMPDI has been active?

A. CMPDI started functioning since January 1974 as a division of the then constituted Coal Mines Authority Limited (CMAL), and the planning wing of erstwhile National Coal Development Corporation (NCDC).
On 1st November 1975, CMAL was merged to form Coal India Limited, and CMPDI attained the status of a public limited company under CIL with declared scope of its business under its Memorandum of Association broadly in line with its original proposal.

Q. What is the impact made by CMPDI?

A. As an ISO-9001 certified Mini Ratna Company, CMPDI holds an important position as Indias largest consultancy organization. A key factor in its success has been the offering of full range of services in the sphere of coal exploration, mining, coal preparation, coal utilization and management, coal technology, coal/material handling arrangement, engineering and environmental management under one roof.

CMPDI has made great impacts in its working domain which can be inferred from the following:

  • Over 1300 integrated coal exploration projects taken up.
  • Over 1000 mining Project Reports prepared with individual project capacity up to 70 million tonne per annum (Mtpa).
  • Facilitated CIL through its services in achieving sustained growth in coal production from 79 Mt in 1974-75 to 567 Mt in 2017-18.
  • About 676 EMPs have been prepared by CMPDI. Environmental Clearance for 510 EMPs (incl. washery, clusters) has been obtained.
  • Environmental Clearance has been received for 943 Mty capacity for coal projects.
  • Rooftop solar power of 350kWp panels commissioned with annual generation of 4.04 Lakh kWh with annual saving of Rs. 27.98 Lakhs.
  • In the field of Mine Infrastructure Planning; Coal Handling Facilities – 253 Nos. (604 Mty), Sub-Station (>1 MVA) – 188 Nos. (2385 MVA) and 7 Central Workshops, 33 Regional Workshops and 220 Project Workshops have been planned and established by CMPDI.
  • In Geomatics; UAV based pilot projects executed in outsourced mode in CCL & NCL, Coal Mine Surveillance & Management System (CMSMS) and Mobile App Khanan Prahari has been developed, Identification of unauthorized settlements claiming compensation in MCL under R&R using Remote Sensing and GIS; Satellite based Land Reclamation Monitoring of 164 opencast mines of CIL and Coal Mine Fire Monitoring based on Thermal Infrared Satellite data for Jharia, Ranijanj & N/S Karmapa Coalfields.
  • Management Services: Support and guidance to Ministry of Coal in achieving the certification for ISO 9001 (Quality Management System).
  • Information & Communication Technology services to CIL such as on-Line Submission of immovable property under CDA, On-Line Vigilance Clearance System, On-line Human Resource Information System for Executives, On-Line PRIDE / PAR for Executives (Performance Appraisal ),Development of Portal for Contract Labour Payment Management System and Implementation of e-Office.
  • Overseas assignment
    i. Assisted Coal Videsh Dept. of CIL in Exploration, including GR and Mineability Report for two coal prospecting licenses in Moatize coal basin, Mozambique.
    ii. Pre-feasibility Study and Mine Feasibility Study for Mchuchuma Project, National Development Corporation, Tanzania.

Q. Out of the various activities and services, which is the most prominent activity/service provided by CMPDI?

A. Establishing the coal resources of the country in the Measured (Proved) category.
Working as an in-house planner and guide for coal-producing companies under CIL as their integral part.
Assisting Ministry of Coal (MoC) and Planning Commission for strategic decisions relating to coal-sector at the national level, e.g., through maintaining inventories of coal deposits, coal mining potentials and operations, etc.
Functioning as a nodal agency on behalf of Government of India, e.g., for schemes funded by MoC, viz S&T projects, exploration work in non-CIL blocks, Environmental Measures and Subsidence Control (EMSC) projects, and CBM clearing house; and for projects funded by CIL R&D Board.

Q. Coal Industry is considered to be prone to corruption at all level. As the head of the consulting body for coal sector; what is your suggestion for controlling corruption and building a responsible system?

A. It would not be proper to assume that coal industry is prone to corruption at all level. Some of the cases here and there may not be conclusive as the coal sector in the country is very vast. It may be that a right image could not be projected in the society by the industry as such due to various reasons. Corruption is basically dishonest behavior by those in position of power. It is valid for all persons in power who belong to our society and depends on the integrity of the person concerned. However, to reduce the risk and incidence of corruption in the Coal sector, the major step is to bring transparency in decision-making and promote ethical behavior amongst its employees. CMPDI, being the premier consulting body for coal sector in the country, has brought into action various activities which will facilitate transparency for controlling corruption and building a responsible system by adopting e-Office, e-Procurement, e-Tendering, etc.

Apart from the above, CMPDI is in the process to develop and implement ISO 37001:2016 Anti-Bribery Management System which will assess the bribery risk and enhance the control measures to restrict corruption to a large extent.

Q. What role the CSR of coal companies in totality can play to make a sustainable impact in the National Level?

A. Coal reserves in India are mostly under the forest land or in tribal inhabited areas. Inevitably, the displaced persons in and around the coal bearing areas are worst affected. Hence, considering its significance, our company, CIL, has always been a front runner by implementing community development activities to bring positive changes in the lives of the people residing in and around coal bearing areas.

It is a matter of pride that coal companies are acting as catalyst by bringing positive changes in the lives of the local communities residing in peripheral areas. In order to achieve sustainable impact of CSR in the national level, our focused areas are mentioned below:

Stakeholder engagement: The people living in the vicinity and areas of coal deposits, wherein mining has to be done for development of the country, are mostly affected. CSR projects being taken up must engage the stakeholders in planning and implementation. The coal companies should club up to take up mega projects to have higher impacts on its stakeholders.
Social, Economic and Environmental Projects: CSR projects should integrate the social, economic and environmental factors in order to achieve high impacts and should be balanced as interdependent pillars for sustainable development.
Volunteerism: The coal companies cannot just focus on its CSR but should involve their employees and promote volunteerism and integrate it with CSR to have grater impacts and a good relationship with its different stakeholders. This will in addition create a sense of oneness and ownership among the employees and stakeholders thereby justifying the effectiveness of Corporate Social Responsibility.
Ethical behavior: Coal companies have taken up CSR on a serious note to be ethical and contribute towards economic development of the country by improving the quality of life of the workforce and their families as well as of the local community and society at large.

Q. What is your comment about the quality and impact made by CSR projects of coal companies?

A. The major environmental and social challenges of coal mining are the negative impacts caused due to coal dust, forest destruction leading to loss in flora and fauna, fires and leakage of dangerous gasses such as methane along with resettlement and rehabilitation making communities vulnerable.

With the view to the above, Coal India has a clear vision of To emerge as a global player in the primary energy sector committed to provide energy security to the country by attaining environmentally & socially sustainable growth through best practices from mine to market. Thus the company pursues Mining with a human face through socially sustainable inclusive model of growth by making Project Affected People stakeholders in the decision making process for their livelihood. The thrust of CSR is also on capacity building, empowerment of communities, inclusive socio-economic growth, environmental protection, promotion of green and energy efficient technologies, development of backward regions and upliftment of the marginalized and underprivileged sections of the society.

Our journey in this respect is on and we look forward towards an equitable society through CSR projects for greater impact on society.

Q. CMPDI provides an environment management consultancy to coal companies. What is the profile of the service? What has been the impact made in this domain?

A. Profile of environmental management consultancy services:
Provides consultancy services to CIL and its subsidiaries, and also to outside clients. It provides its services both in coal and mineral sector. It has more than 90 NABET certified experts and 4 NABL laboratories.
i. Undertakes project specific EIA/EMP studies for obtaining environmental clearance.
ii. Undertakes EIA/EMP studies for cluster of mines; regional EIA/EMP studies
iii. Undertakes routine environmental monitoring for ascertaining the efficacy of the pollution control measures
iv. Development of mine closure guidelines for MoC; preparation of mine closure plan and auditing of progressive mine closure plan
v. Planning and design of effluent treatment plant (ETP) and sewage treatment plant (STP) schemes
vi. Slope stability studies and soil conservation studies
vii. Research and development in emerging areas of coal mine environmental management
viii. Undertook scientific sand replenishment studies for 76 sand mining projects in the State of Rajasthan
ix. Undertook study of the riverine ecosystem and carrying capacity studies for some mines of MCL
Impact Made
i. Helped CIL in promoting sustainable coal mining
ii. Provided status of the environmental quality to help subsidiaries take additional remedial measures if required
iii. Audit of progressive mine closure helped in realization of escrow amount deposited by coal companies.
iv. Planning and design of pollution control facilities helps in control of air and water pollution in mines.
v. Policy planning helped to evolve effective policies to promote mining both in coal and mineral sector.
vi. R&D efforts helped to evolve good practices in some of the emerging areas like mine closure, development of mine voids for fish culture etc

Q. Anything you would like to share with the readers of CSR VISION?

A. Organizations have realized that Govt. alone will not be able to get success in its endeavor to uplift the down trodden of society. Therefore, joint responsibility lies with the Government, Corporate Sectors and Social sector.
If the country has to survive and grow peacefully with least social tension, each one of us should contribute in their own way for the upliftment of the society as a whole especially for the development of the poorest of the poor.

About the author

CSR VISION is India's (probably World's) first monthly magazine in print devoted to CSR and Sustainable Development for bringing together all stakeholders of SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT at a global and local levels and act as a platform for promoting strategic CSR and sustainable development practices through dissemination of information and knowledge.