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India’s Coal Story

India’s Coal Story
From Damodar to Zambezi

First Edition

June 2017 | 288 pages | SAGE India

Believe it or not, India has one of the largest coal reserves in Asia, but still relies on imports from Australia and Mozambique...

India’s coal reserves were the lifeline that fuelled the British Empire in Asia, and yet today this industry is on the verge of collapse. Coal was at the centre of a major political scandal that nearly sent a prime minister to jail. This one-of-a-kind book unveils the murky politics around coal - the resource that could provide India all the energy security it needs.

Foreword by Vinod Rai
Preface and Acknowledgements
Ole King Coal
A Nation and Its Contradictions
Nationalisation of Problems
Coal on Sale
Notes from an Auditor
Entrepreneurship and Environment
Winners and Losers
A Promise to Keep
Energy Ambitions

Bhattacharjee manoeuvres the reader through the coal story – right from how it entered the Indian economic life and become so important to its history, to the importance of Damodar river banks in this trade and the role of Sir Dorabji Tata. There’s an interesting compilation of facts.... Writing on energy is not easy, particularly when there are too many complexities and high stakes. Bhattacharjee does a neat balancing act to his credit.

Business Line, 17 July 2017

Subhomoy Bhattacherjee’s book on India’s coal story has all the facts that a person might want to know about this industry. It is replete with information, facts, interviews and extremely plausible conjectures, which makes the book an essential reference kit for anyone interested in this complex and messy industry… It is no doubt a sound reference guide.


The Indian Express, 5 August 2017

It’s not often that you come across a book that presents all the research you need about a subject without being didactic and dense, especially something that many comment about, but very few understand. Bhattacharjee’s book is so important and a must-read. It covers all the twists and turns of the coal scam, from the allocation to the court cases and cancellations… Most of the narrative on energy is focused on oil or renewables and this is the myopia that is important to correct, which the book does. There are a very few writers who can take a subject like coal-energy policy and make it interesting, especially with historical references….. [The author] uses the rivers Damodar and Zambezi to build a fluid and wonderful narrative. Interweaving the narrative with floods, rivers, river coal mafia and what happens on the shores is a feast for any inquisitive reader. Books like India’s Coal Story help in not only presenting the challenges, but in framing the narrative for the future.


The Financial Express, 7 January 2017

The book is a product of the painstaking research Bhattacharjee conducted through a series of interviews and field tours. But this also makes it factually heavy. Bhattacharjee plays it extremely safe, offering nothing that is not already available in the public domain.


The Telegraph, 10 November 2017

The book could have easily ended up as an exhaustive but dull story of a crucial energy resource had the author not been determined to make it a lively tale. The details in fact, micro details are all there, but Bhattacharjee pulled out all the stops by bringing out in vivid detail of the life and times of each person involved in the coal business from when it started being mined commercially in India… It is an extremely readable book with impeccable research and a wealth of detail backing up every tale. Bhattacharjee does a good job of recounting its role throughout India’s history since the British era.


Business Today, 3 December 2017

It is the outcome of a painstaking research conducted through series of interviews and extensive field tours crisscrossing the country… its pages do make for an important reference point for any researcher.


The Hindu, 18 June 2017

Bhattacherjee has written a scholarly book on exploiting coal in India, replete with anecdotes.


Financial Chronicle, 24-25 June 2017

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ISBN: 9789386446008