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Submitted by Balakrishnan on

Dear Mr. Mani, It is true that Indian coal is of low-quality but mining is pretty crude too. India’s coal is about 45% shale and rock, which is useless and non-combustible. Coal India essentially digs large pits and takes out coal and sends them across the country. But the larger question is why? Coal India is a monopoly. Nationalization drive in the 1970s is to be blamed. Here is the fun part…this useless material (only about 50% coal) is sent through Indian Railways. So Indian Railways wastes diesel carrying useless 50% shale and rock. Again why? Indian Railways is a monopoly. No questions asked. More junk the Indian Railways carries…more profit. Whose money? No one cares. So India has over 100 billion tons of coal reserves but imports about 100 million tons a year. Because Coal India can’t dig fast enough to meet the demand. Coal India does not have the capacity for underground mining, latest technology and safety measures. So the question is…Would washing coal make a difference in India? In short, the answer is no. There is no regulation and fly ash is not treated as hazardous waste. Fly ash contains toxic trace elements of metals like antimony, arsenic, beryllium, cadmium, fluorine, lead, mercury, selenium, thallium and vanadium. India, instead, should focus on removing shale and rock during mining process. The starting point is to scrap state monopoly. India should open up mining to private industry and dissolve Coal India. Indeed easy solution. Not quite…we are dealing with India. No political party, in the context of a coalition government such as the one we have now, would dare to touch it. Mining should be done by professional miners…Coal India is not. The biggest “coal scam” is the Coal Mines Act of 1973. So your blog should look at this issue holistically not just as a technical solution.