KOLKATA: It has reported that the government-owned Coal India Ltd (CIL) has planned to establish four medical colleges and an engineering college in the mining areas of its subsidiary companies.
This, coincidentally, comes at a time when the sector saw some controversy over the proposed government bill to compel mining companies to share at least a quarter of their annual profits with those affected by its operations.
“The colleges are in the pipeline. One is with Mahanadi Coalfields and the company has already formed a trust for a medical college at Talcher in Orissa. They are in the process of getting approval from the Medical Council of India. If approvals come soon, we will start work on the college – which would see an investment of Rs 60-100 crore, within a year,” said R Mohan Das, Director (personnel and industrial relations) of CIL.
The other three medical colleges would be under Bharat Coking Coal (BCCL) at Dhanbad, Central Coalfields (CCL) at Ranchi (both in Jharkhand) and Eastern Coalfields (ECL) at Asansol in West Bengal. The proposed engineering college would also be under CCL, near Ranchi. The investment for these projects are also expected on the same lines.
“For us, the advantage is that no big investment would be needed, as our major hospitals in these areas have more than 250 beds. Money will go for building classrooms, administrative buildings, hostel facilities and in buying new medical equipment,” Das said. The company has 86 hospitals and 423 dispensaries in its mining areas, with 1,524 doctors, 5,835 beds, 640 ambulances and 31 equipped mobile vans.
One of its subsidiaries, South Eastern Coalfields (SECL), is already operating engineering college in partnership with the Chhattisgarh government near Raipur. The investment from the company was around Rs 10 crore, while the government operates the institution. When asked whether the proposed colleges would be in partnership with some other company or state governments, Das said, “These things would be worked out later by the trusts and subsidiaries.”
Along with other mining institutes under its belt, CIL is also running an Industrial Training Centre at Bolpur in West Bengal in a tie-up with Damodar Valley Corporation and Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd, where the total investment is Rs 23 crore.
The company funds 536 schools in four different categories – project schools (55), privately managed schools with grant packages under ECL, BCCL and CCL (284), private committee-managed educational institutes (72) and other schools where occasional grants are given (125).
Apart from this, the company says it funds 100 scholarships for students from below poverty line families who got admissions in major government medical and engineering colleges. “We sponsor tuition as well as hostel fees, plus a Rs 10,000 package allowance per year. Moreover, these scholarships are available for 25 additional students from the families of land losers in mining areas,” Das added.