At least 1,000 top and middle level officers working with Coal India Limited (CIL), who have crossed 50 years of age, may be forced into premature retirement from service due to “non-performance” and other “negative professional traits”.

As of March 2015, CIL, one of the seven “maharatna” public sector units (PSUs), had 333,097 employees, out of whom 314,259 were non-executives and 18,838 were executives (officer cadre). CIL is the largest coal producer in the world and contributes to more than 80% of India’s coal production. Government of India, through the Ministry of Coal, controls the majority stake in CIL.

Official sources aware of the development said that some of those who are being “terminated” from service are being prematurely retired for repeated poor “annual confidential reports (ACRs)”, staying in one place for a long time by using external pressure, not taking up field postings despite repeated directions and not being physically fit. Medical examinations of close to 1,000 officers have already been carried out in this regard. These officers will be retired by either giving three months’ notice or three months’ salary.

Sources said that the services of around 300-400 officials will be terminated in the first phase, which will be executed by the starting of the next year, after which at least 700 more will be retired in the coming months.

The Sunday Guardian reached out to a range of top CIL officials, including Gopal Singh, Chairman; R.R. Mishra, Director, Personnel; Tripti Parag Shaw, General Manager, Personnel; and A.K. Saxena, chief manager, Personnel, for their comments but did not receive any response until the time the report went to press.

Coal India spokesperson Vijay Sagar, when contacted, said that he was indisposed. He requested the newspaper to contact A.K. Saxena for a comment. This newspaper did not receive any response from the office of Coal Minister Piyush Goyal to the e-mails and calls made.

As per a related office order, which called for periodic review of the officers dated 1 September, issued by the Personnel Division, Policy cell, CIL, accessed by this newspaper, the list of officers who are to be prematurely retired from the CIL and its subsidiaries is to be submitted to the chairman CIL by December 2017.

The officers are being “retired” from service under Clause 15.8 of the Common Coal Cadre, which says that the broad objective of the review process is to weed out officers of doubtful integrity and those who have become ineffective or inefficient and it will apply to those who have completed the age of 50 years.

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