Cement companies protest coal price hike
Coal India has steeply increased the prices of A and B grade coal by 150 per cent and the prices for grade C and below has been raised by 30 per cent. The Coal Consumers' Association of India has protested this hike and said that they would seek Prime Minister's intervention in rolling back the arbitrary price hike as this may throw many industrial units out of business. "This differentiation of user industries according to the coal grade used will severely affect industries, particularly in the eastern region," said PK Chand, Chief Financial Officer, Birla Corporation, who is also the President of the Coal Consumers' Association of India. According to Chand, a four-million-tonne cement plant of Birla Corporation uses A and B grade coal and following the hike, the production cost will go up by Rs 9-10 per bag. Shashi Kumar, former Coal India Chairman and currently a Director at Shyam DRI Power, said this was the first time that CIL had made a serious discrimination among consumers through differential pricing. He said, "While 70 per cent of consumers use C and lower grade coal, 30 per cent use A and B grade. The differential hike in price will put the 30 per cent consumers in a more disadvantageous position".