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Coal India to use GPS to stop pilferage

Coal India, the world largest coal miner, plans to use satellite technology to prevent the hijacking of its shipments. Estimates indicate that at least a quarter of the company’s 431Mt annual production is stolen in transit, says Arun Kejriwal, director of Mumbai-based equity research firm KRIS.

The thefts come amid a 100Mta national coal shortage that has hit supplies to thermal power stations across the country. The industry has had few victories over the years in tacking organised crime in mining areas, which are often in isolated and tribal areas.

However, fighting against charges of inefficiency and corruption, the Indian government will be taking action to curb the practices and Coal India will start using global positioning systems to track its shipments. “We’ve given directions to install GPS (units) and made it time-bound,” Jaiswal said. This will be implemented for all consignments, so that “we get to know the status of rail loading and road loading”, he said.

“Once the GPS (units) are installed, any diversion from a route can be tracked. GPS will also be installed at rail sidings. Pilferage of coal happens mostly when transportation routes are changed to offload coal,” a ministry official said on condition of anonymity to Livemint.

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