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