Mahanadi Coalfields Limited (MCL), Ministry of Coal has introduced Virtual Reality (VR)-based skill development programme for providing safety and operational training to its 17,000 workforce by year 2026. The Coal India subsidiary has earmarked a budget of Rs 6.5 crore for skill enhancement among coal miners.
Emphasising on skilled workforce as a key to safe and productive mining operations, Shri Om Prakash Singh, Chairman-cum-Managing Director of MCL stated that regular training and upgradation of skills is required by leveraging cutting-edge technologies to match the advancements and introduction of new technology in mining sector.
MCL plans to upgrade the technical skills of workforce involved in operational activities, to achieve 300 Million Tonne (MT) coal production by 2026 and enable Coal India Ltd achieve the target of one billion tonne production. VR-based training to the workers would save cost and time, yet provide impartial and auto-generated feedback on the skills attained by the trainees.
Initiated as a step towards digitalisation in business processes, introduction of VR-based training for around 17,000 departmental as well as contract employees will serve as a major initiative for 18 training modules leveraging this modern technology.
MCL, the flag bearer in Coal India Ltd for introduction of new technologies in business processes, is in the process of modernising business operations through coordinated efforts and knowledge sharing with R&D institutions and industry experts.
The initiative, spearheaded jointly by the Innovation Cell, Safety & Rescue, Electrical & Mechanical, Excavation and Electronics & Telecommunications departments of MCL, is envisaged to integrate seamless training on 3D simulated VR-platforms. This would provide safe training environment to the workers before they actually take up jobs in the coal mines or workshops, all the while mitigating direct exposure to hazardous activities in initial training and induction.
M/s Concoct Human Resource Practitioners (CHRP-India) Pvt. Ltd., Hyderabad based Virtual Reality technology company has been entrusted with the job, through competitive bidding at the Government e-Marketplace (GeM), for development of simulated environment and running the training programme in areas like blasting, mine inspection, electrical safety, working, traffic simulation, engine/transmission maintenance etc.
MCL, the highest coal producing subsidiary of Coal India Ltd with mining operations spread over Sundergarh, Jharsuguda and Angul districts of Odisha, had produced more than 193 million tonne coal in the last financial year 2022-23 and despatched a record 148 million tonne coal to power plants.