Eastern Coalfields Limited
Eastern Coalfields Limited is a coal producer based in India. The company was founded in 1975 after nationalisation of coal mines in India. It inherited all the private sector coal mines of the Raniganj Coalfield. It is one of the fully owned subsidiaries of Coal India Limited.
Eastern Coalfields Limited (ECL) is a coal producer based in India. The company was founded in 1975 after nationalisation of coal mines in India. It inherited all the private sector coal mines of the Raniganj Coalfield. It is one of the fully owned subsidiaries of Coal India Limited. The company has its headquarters at Sanctoria, in West Bengal.
Coalmining in India first started in the Raniganj Coalfield. In 1774, John Sumner and Suetonius Grant Heatly of the British East India Company found coal near Ethora, presently in Salanpur community development block. The early exploration and mining operations were carried out in a haphazard manner.
Regular mining started in 1820, led by an agency house, Alexander & Co. In 1835, Prince Dwarkanath Tagore bought over the collieries and Carr, Tagore and Company led the field. For the entire 19th century and a major part of the 20th century, Ranigunj coalfields was the major producer of coal in the country.
At the behest of William Princep, Carr, Tagore and Company joined hands with Gilmore Homfray and Co. in 1843 to form Bengal Coal Co., which opened up coal mining activities. Their headquarters was at Sanctoria.
Nationalisation of the coal industry was in stages. The management of coking coal mines was taken over in 1971 and the coking coal mines were nationalised in 1972. The management of non-coking coal mines was taken over on 31 January 1973 and these were nationalised on 1 May 1973. Coal India Limited, a holding company, was formed in 1975, encompassing the entire coal industry. In 2016-17, CIL produced 554.14 million tonnes of coal. It is the single-largest coal producer in the world. Eastern Coalfields Ltd. is one of the 7 wholly owned producing subsidiaries of CIL.