New Delhi: Expressing concern over manpower crunch and poor functioning of the Coal Controllers Organisation (CCO), entrusted with the task of monitoring captive mines, a parliamentary panel has asked the government to take immediate steps to strengthen it.
"The Committee is dismayed to note that the enormous work such as permission for opening and reopening of coal mines... has been entrusted to CCO...Yet there is only one technical officer posted in the organisation and he is holding the post of coal controller," Parliamentary Standing Committee on Coal and Steel has said in its latest report.
Expressing concern, the Panel, which is headed by Trinamool Congress MP Kalyan Banerjee, said, "The Committee fail to understand as to how without having adequate manpower, the organisation can carry out inspection for ascertaining quality in selected mines.
It said: "The Committee strongly recommend the government to take immediate steps to strengthen the office of CCO to ensure that besides the various statutory functions, the organisation could efficiently monitor the progress of work in allocated captive coal blocks."
The CCO, which has field offices at coalfield areas like Dhanbad, Ranchi, Bilaspur, Nagpur and Kothagudem, to be headed by a GM/DGM level executive working in the capacity of Officer on Special Duty being supported by other technical officers, has unfortunately only one technical officer, it said.
The CCO, apart from giving permission for opening and reopening of coal mines has huge work like disposal of cases under Coal Bearing Areas (Acquisition and Development) Act, 1957, collection of excise duty, inspection of coal samples, collection, compilation of coal statistics and monitoring and progress of coal blocks.
"It will be difficult to undertake regular inspections to ensure compliance with specific orders relating to coal quality and resolving statutory complaints," the Committee said.
It added that despite Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad after reviewing the functioning of the CCO recommended strengthening of the organisation, the Coal Ministry failed to take any step.
"Although the Secretary, Ministry of Coal was candid enough to admit that the Ministry has taken note of it and will take steps to strengthen the same, the Committee are surprised the way the government has entrusted so much wok to the organisation without providing requisite staff," it said.