People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)

Vol. XXX

No. 29

July 16, 2006

Neyveli Lignite Corporation

Making The Public Sector Proud


During early fifties the then South Arcot district was a backward industrial district without any source of employment and economic activity. Once the deposit of high quality lignite was found out to be abundantly available around the Neyveli area, Com.P.Ramamurthy, the leader of the united communist movement, took up the issue and through his efforts it was taken up in the Parliament and State Assembly for coal mining and allied activities. The project was established with the help of Soviet Russia and Germany and now the NLC is celebrating its golden jubilee this year. There are three open mines spread over 26 square kilo metre area and annually 24 metric tons of lignite is mined from a depth of 10 to 50 meters under ground.


Three thermal power stations are producing combined 2490 Mw electricity. Tamilnadu gets about 441 Mw (30%) of electricity from NLC; not to be left behind the other four southern states get substantial power from them in the order of Andhra Pradesh 227 Mw (19%), Karnataka 229 Mw (14%), Kerala 153 Mw (10%) and Pondicherry 80 Mw (5%).  The electricity generated in the NLC power plants are sold to the state at cheaper prices compared to their private counterparts’ sale price. Per unit price of NLC power ranges from Rs.1.68 to Rs.2.80 whereas from all the private companies the state purchases at the rate of Rs.4.50 to Rs.5.50. An ancillary fertilizer unit produces about 1.29 lakh tons of urea. The water pumped out from the mines irrigates about 20000 hectare lands for cultivation. Again, the purified water from the mines fulfills the water needs of the NLC Township and the nearby villages.


The NLC employs about 3669 officers, 7546 supervisory staff and a complement of 7571 assistants and workers. Apart from this 18786 total staff of the NLC, there are about 10000 contract and casual workers in the mines, thermal and fertilizer units. All others engaged in hospitals, schools, colleges and allied social activity put together, there should be about 35000 people directly and indirectly employed around NLC.


The total assets of the company are valued at Rs.28000 crores. Their Reserves and surplus itself is a whopping 6001.47 crores. The accrual from the sale of 10% shares is valued at Rs.1100 means one can estimate how undervalued the share prices are in order to facilitate the take over of the national wealth at throwaway prices. The NLC earns profits continuously without break. For the last five years their annual net profit crossed 1000 crores of rupees every year (2001-1028/ 2002-1189/ 2003-1694/ 2004-1408/ 2005-1764). The NLC had planned for an investment of about 22729 crores of rupees raised from its own sources to augment the mines expansion plan and installing thermal power plants at Tuticorin in Tamilnadu and in other states such as Rajasthan, Orissa, Maharashtra and Gujarat.


There are 16 schools and one college functioning in the township. That caters not only to the needs of the NLC workers families, but thousands of students from the nearby villages also get educated from these schools. In an era of gross commercialization of education, the NLC provides virtually free education for all as a model to be emulated elsewhere. In NLC township there is a 400 wards super specialty hospital which again takes care of the entire populace of the area. This half centaury old socially responsible Public Sector Undertaking makes the concept proud.