Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Singareni Collieries Company Limited, Kothagudem – Part II

In the year 1870 or a year earlier the natives of a village called Singareni (located in the present Khammam district of Andhra Pradesh) accidentally found that some rocks at a place in their village were capable of catching fire like Charcoal. They had absolutely no knowledge of the underground variety of Coal. As these inflammable rocks were not fully formed Coal (Peat) and were dark grey in color more like stones, they were surprised with their discovery. They named this place as ‘Boggutta’ meaning a ‘Coal hillock’. The news of this discovery reached the then Nizam, the Ruler of Hyderabad State. On the instructions of the Nizam, Dr. King of the Geological Survey of India along with his team mates went to Singareni village and the adjacent Yellandu village in 1871 and discovered large reserves of Coal there. Since then Yellandu, Singareni and Boggutta have become synonymous with Coal mining in a big way. And the important coal seams of every mine in this Company are called after the British rulers as King’s seam and Queen’s seam.

The Hyderabad (Deccan) Company Limited, Incorporated in England, acquired mining rights in 1886 to exploit coal found in Yellandu area. The present company was incorporated in 1920 under the Hyderabad Companies Act, and was floated in the year 1921 as a Public Limited Company with the name 'Singareni Collieries Company Limited' (SCCL or The S.C.Co.Ltd.). It acquired all the assets and liabilities of the Hyderabad (Deccan) Co. Ltd. Best & Co. acted as secretaries and selling agents. The state of Hyderabad purchased majority shares of the Company in 1945. From 1945 to 1949, the Hyderabad Construction Co. Ltd was acting as managing agent. In 1949, this function was entrusted to Industrial Trust Fund by the then Government of Hyderabad. The controlling interests of the Company devolved to the Government of Andhra Pradesh in 1956, pursuant to the reorganization of the States. Thus, the SCCL became a government company under the Companies Act in 1956.

The Singareni Collieries Company Limited has grown in leaps and bounds, operations and production wise. The Company’s mines, Inclines and Open cast mines are at Kothagudem, Yellandu, Manuguru, Bellampalli, Mandamarri, Ramakrishnapur, Ramagundam, Bhoopalpalli and so on, spread over four districts of Telangana, Khammam, Adilabad, Karimnagar and Warangal. And interestingly all these mining areas are not very far from River Godavari. The Company has its Head Office at Kothagudem. The work force of the company at one time was close to 1,20,000 but now with some Inclines closed and more Open cast mines coming up and due to heavy mechanization the employee strength has come down to about 69,000. The total coal production of SCCL in over 100 years is close to 950 million tonnes, until March 2010. Exploration by the Geological Survey of India so far has indicated 16,997 million tonnes of coal reserves in these areas. With such high reserves the Company is bound to contribute to national growth and prosperity for perhaps few more centuries!

As I mentioned in my previous post, we are proud to be associated with such a Company with a grand past and a greater future. 

P.S. You may click on the following link to reach several of my photo-articles / blog posts on Kothagudem, Singareni Collieries, Bhadrachalam, Godavari River, Parnashala, Kinnerasani and Papikondalu:

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Singareni Collieries Company Limited, Kothagudem – Part I

The Singareni Collieries Company Limited is a Government owned Coal mining Company in Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh with its operations in four districts and its Head Office at Kothagudem in Khammam District.
Since a long time, I have been thinking of writing on my association with Kothagudem and ‘The Singareni Collieries Company’ but it has been possible only now. Kothagudem has been my second home for almost 30 years. To write on 30 years of happy association with this Town and Company would turn out to be a book of several pages, interesting to the family but perhaps not so to every other reader. Here at my blog I will write in brief about the Singareni Collieries Company and Kothagudem Town and our association with them in perhaps two parts and post whatever relevant photographs I can find from our albums.
My family has been associated with the Singareni Collieries Company Limited and Kothagudem from 1952 that is from a time before my birth and up to 1982. Though we left the place in 1982, our association with Singareni Collieries still continues as share holders of the Company, of course of a microscopic value. We are kept informed about all Board meetings and their Annual performance Reports even today. And as for Kothagudem Town we still have a number of acquaintances there with whom we have very cordial relations.
My father, Sri N. Bhaskarachary joined The Singareni Collieries Company Limited at Kothagudem as Personnel Manager in April 1952. The total strength of employees at that time was about 9,000. There was no Personnel Department as such until then. The welfare part of the workmen was looked after by Doctors posted in different Coal mining areas and the recruitment by the respective mining area in-charges. My father joined Singareni Collieries after serving ‘H.E.H. The Nizam’s Railway’ and the Central Railway of Indian Government for 16 years as Personnel Manager and Officer on Special duty. At Singareni Collieries he established the Personnel Department. At the time of his retirement the Company had 76,000 workmen spread over Coal Mines in four districts of Andhra Pradesh.
I began my studies at Kothagudem at the St. Mary’s Girls High School. I studied from Montessori to Sixth class at St. Mary’s. Thereafter, at the age of eleven I was shifted to our home in Secunderabad to pursue further studies. And during all those years of my Middle school, High school and College education I and my brother eagerly waited for vacations to join my parents, sister and childhood friends at Kothagudem. The vacation time at Kothagudem was always the best part of my younger days. Though it is a small town there were plenty of Comics in circulation and then as I grew up it was Novels. There was the pursuit of many hobbies among us friends. We played a number of games in our spacious Company bungalow. We had facilities to play a variety of games at the KCOA and Yellandu Clubs. While I was in my XI and XII Classes I played Cricket for the Singareni Collieries Cricket Club and participated in a number of matches and two Tournaments.
Later after I completed my B.E. Electrical Engineering Course, I joined the Singareni Collieries Company as an Asst. Engineer at Kothagudem. And after working for four years I resigned from the Company and shifted to Secunderabad.
Kothagudem is 270 Kms. from Hyderabad. It had many Coal Mines during our stay there but now there are fewer mines. The town is spread over a large area because of the distant location of the mines. Area wise the town is more or less the same over all these years but it is now densely populated with more buildings everywhere, wider roads, large number of shops, restaurants, lodges, doctors and nursing homes.
I have posted here a number of old pictures associated with the mining related operations of the Singareni Collieries. I hope you have found them interesting. I shall write more about Singareni Collieries in Part-II of this topic.
P.S. You may click on the following link to reach several of my photo-articles / blog posts on Kothagudem, Singareni Collieries, Bhadrachalam, Godavari River, Parnashala, Kinnerasani and Papikondalu:

Friday, May 28, 2010

Our facebook entries on today's tragedy at Mahabubabad.

  • Raghu Narayanaraopeta Spineless politicians of Telangana, it is you who are responsible for today's tragedy at Mahabubabad. From now on please be kind to the people who have elected you and shun your selfish agenda of prospering by pleasing and living at the feet of politicians who have caused immense harm to Telangana.
    7 hours ago ·  · 

  • Hide
    Lalitha Raghu Why was 144 section of IPC not imposed in Mahabubabad, perhaps it would have averted today's tragedy. Was it to facilitate this 'Massive tragic yatra’. I do not know, it is ultimately our Government which knows the best and is in total control!? Specially over Telangana. They have done their best for Telangana today as they have been doing for it since 1st November 1956!?
    7 hours ago ·  · 

    Raghu Narayanaraopeta
    Raghu Narayanaraopeta
    The authorities have imposed 144 Section after the Yatra has been abandoned! They wanted the massive Yatra to take place at any cost. Now that the Yatra is abandoned and deaths have take place they are reminded of their duty to maintain law and order in Telangana, so it is time for 144 Section once again whenever and wherever they like. This is the way to Govern Telangana people?
    6 hours ago · 
Raghu Narayanaraopeta Feel throttled among biased leaders, double tongued traitors and their protectors – The Powerful Outlaws Licensed to do Injustice, Crime and Evil.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Double significant date in our: “Calendar of Celebrations”.

Today, 25th MAY, is my brother, Dr. Lakshminarsu and sister-in-law, Smt. Vijayalaxmi’s 37th Marriage Anniversary. Today is also my nephew, Sridhar’s Birthday (my sister’s son). I wish happy celebrations and the best of everything in the year ahead for them and many happy returns of the day.   
As a double event day, 25th MAY stands out in the above “Family Calendar of Celebrations”.  A family member may tend to forget someone’s birthday or anniversary but never 25th MAY due to its double significance!
P.S. It is also Bunny’s birthday today; according to every available paper record of his, from school to college to passport. He was actually born on 2nd MAY and that is the day on which his birthday is celebrated by the family. It is due to some typographical error that his records show 25th MAY as his birthday. If you have forgotten to greet him on 2nd May, you may call and surprise him today with birthday wishes! 

Sunday, May 23, 2010

158 precious lives lost in India’s worst aviation disaster in 14 years.

It is with a heavy heart I am writing this article and I am quoting Maurice Maeterlinck: “All our knowledge merely helps us to die a more sudden or painful death than animals that know nothing.”
Yesterday morning at about 6:30 AM an Air India Express plane met with an accident while landing at Mangalore International Airport killing 158 of the 166 on board. The Boeing 737-800 aircraft coming from Dubai and being piloted by very senior pilots with thousands of  hours flying experience did not report of any problems, the plane just careered off the end of the Table-top runway and plunged into a ravine and was engulfed in flames. Of the 160 passengers and 6 crew members only eight passengers survived.
As details of the crash and the dead passengers became available the effect of the tragedy deepened. The passengers mostly belonged to Kerala and the rest to Karnataka. Most of them were coming home on a holiday, some to attend marriages and some to attend the final rites of a relative and so on. Few families perished in this accident and one such family’s sixteen members have died. 19 children and 4 infants who had so much to see in life died in the crash. With this; the hopes, dreams and aspirations of the dead and their families have come to an end. And ultimately the families, relatives, friends, acquaintances, co-workers neighbors and so many people they are associated with will suffer the most due to this tragedy. I do not know any of the passengers or their families but I am saddened with the tragic news pouring out from Mangalore. And Mangalore is a place with which I and my brother were associated for over 5 years.
I pray God to help all those suffering due to this tragedy to soon overcome the grief and survive and survive well. And may the investigators find the causes of this mishap at the earliest and ensure that nothing like this will ever happen again.   

Friday, May 21, 2010

Haridwar and Rishikesh.

Haridwar and Rishikesh located in Uttarakhand State are holy places of importance for Hindus from all over the world. While every State in India has holy rivers and hundreds of Temples only a few of them are known all over the country. And not all of them are must visit places in one’s lifetime. But this is not the case with these places in the State of Uttarakhand, it has Haridwar, Rishikesh, Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri which every Hindu considers as a duty to visit once.
Haridwar and Rishikesh are on the banks of the holy River Ganga. Haridwar is 200 Kms. from New Delhi and Rishikesh is further north, 24 Kms. from Haridwar. I have been to Haridwar and Rishikesh twice during my official visits to Deharadun.
“Haridwar” means “Gateway to God” and is regarded as one of the seven holiest places in India. In ancient times this place was also called “Gangadwara” meaning the holy River Ganga descends to the plains here. River Ganga starts at Gaumukh at the edge of the Gangotri glacier in the Himalayas and flows along the mountains for 253 Kms. to reach Haridwar. Haridwar is one of the four places where drops of the elixir of immortality (Ambrosia – Amrutam) accidentally slipped over from the pitcher that the celestial bird Garuda was carrying after it was extracted from the Ocean by the Gods and demons. These four places, Nasik, Ujjain, Prayag and Haridwar have become sacred places where the Kumbha Mela is celebrated. Kumbha Mela is celebrated once every three years in any of these four places and after every 12 years Maha Kumbha Mela is celebrated at Prayag in Allahabad. Not only during the time of Kumbha Mela but on any day around the year pilgrims perform ritualistic bath in River Ganga which is said to cleanse have the sins committed by the person and attain ‘Moksha’. The spot where the Amrutam fell at Haridwar is called Brahma Kund and this is at a place called Har ki Pauri meaning footsteps of God. And this is the most sacred bathing ghat at Haridwar. Every evening the Maha Aarti also called Ganga Aarti is performed here. You can see some awesome pictures of Aarti and the bathing ghats at the top of this article.
Rishikesh, another equally important place of pilgrimage is easy to visit once you are at Haridwar as it is just 25 Kms. away. Rishikesh is derived from Rishikesha one of the many names of Lord Vishnu. It means Lord of senses. Rishikesh is also known as the Gateway to the Himalayas as it is at the foothills of these mighty mountains and it is the starting point for the pilgrimage to Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri which are all at an altitude of over 3000 metres. It is said that Lord Rama did penance here and that Lakshmana his younger brother crossed River Ganga here where we now have the famous Lakshmana Jhula. All along the banks of Ganga at Rishikesh we have ancient and new temples and ashrams of great saints from the past and present. Apart from the regular pilgrims to this holy land of Ganga and great saints several tourists from India and abroad visit Rishikesh for spiritual learning and yoga lessons. This is how Rishikesh has come to be called as the ‘World capital of Yoga”.

To read about my trip to Badrinath and view some magnificent photographs of Badri Narayan Temple and the Himalayas you may click on this link:

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Prashanthi Nilayam.

Prashanthi Nilayam is the main ashram of Sri Sathya Sai Baba at Puttaparthi, the birth place of Baba. Puttaparthi is in Ananthapur district of Andhra Pradesh. Almost every Indian and a large number of people in other countries have certainly heard of Sri Sathya Sai Baba and considerable numbers among them are disciples and devotees of Baba. I have been to Prashanthi Nilayam two times and to Baba’s ashram at White field, Bangalore, once. I had the opportunity of being in Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s presence four times and seek his blessings.  
Sri Sathya Sai Baba is a highly revered spiritual leader and world teacher since 1940, from the age of 14 years. His life and message are inspiring millions of people throughout the world to turn God-ward and to lead purposeful and moral lives. His service to society in the fields of education, health care, drinking water supply to several places in drought hit areas and service to society through his disciples whenever and wherever there is a need is highly admirable. And then there are many miracles involving Sri Sathya Sai Baba and his devotees. Several believers in him have benefitted by seeking his blessings and I am one of them. To know and understand Sri Sathya Sai Baba one has to read as much as possible about his life, his teachings and the experience of his devotees. And plenty of such literature is available on internet.
Some of the above photographs are from our recent trip to Prashanthi Nilayam.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Yesterday’s summer shower brought smiles! But not for long.

Three days back I wrote about the heat wave in Telangana region and of Hyderabad’s highest temperature in 20 years. Yesterday was also quite hot but suddenly towards evening it became cloudy and there was heavy rain for 45 minutes accompanied with strong wind. Everything appeared pleasant with such heavy downpour and the temperature falling down. But within a short time the power supply failed and it became sultry. The rechargeable table fans from China which have become very popular in Hyderabad were of some relief. Soon dusk turned to total darkness and we had to resort to the emergency lamps and torch lights. We had to attend an engagement ceremony and we got dressed for the party under these dim emergency lamps.
At the engagement party we came to know that this downpour was mostly in Secunderabad area and few areas of Hyderabad. The venue of the party was powered up with a captive Power Generator but the Air conditioning was switched off. The place was crowded and a little uncomfortable. There was also talk of several trees and hoardings getting uprooted affecting traffic movement at several places in the city. Along our route to the party there were some fallen trees which were moved aside, water logging and the roads were quite dirty but fortunately no traffic hold-ups.
When we returned home there was still no power supply. It got restored intermittently twice for a few minutes but it was finally restored at 11:30 P.M. I have not yet seen today’s newspapers but from the Television I find that some areas of the city still do not have power supply.
A short rain in summer only brings about a short relief. I know that today is going to be hot once again and with yesterday’s rain the humidity level would go up causing a sticky, sweaty state and an irritating feeling when you are out in the open.
As a child whenever I complained about severe summer conditions I was told “Longer and hotter the summer; heavier the rains in rainy season! Which are beneficial to one and all in several ways.”

Friday, May 14, 2010

Hyderabad records highest temperature in 20 years; 45° Celsius.

Hyderabad is in the grip of an intense heat wave. In April the temperature touched 42.4° Celsius which was the highest in 9 years. This prompted me to write an article on 14th April: “Scorching summer sets a record … of much suffering” ( Now in MAY; for the past few days the temperature is hovering above 43° Celsius. And two days back on 12th May it touched 45° Celsius the highest temperature at Hyderabad in 20 years. The heat wave is much more severe in several other places of Telangana like Kothagudem, Ramagundam and Nizamabad. It touched 50° Celsius at Kothagudem on 12th May. The inconvenience people are facing outdoors due to heat wave and indoors due to power shedding is enormous. Sun-strokes and also few deaths are being reported from these hot places.
In childhood and even while at college, I spent several summer vacations at Kothagudem one of the hottest places in South India and I always enjoyed my holidays. Not the summer part but the vacation part - full of games and entertainment and no studies to bother about. That is how I am accustomed to severe summer conditions; I think it causes me less irritation compared to others.
Rains are predicted for Hyderabad around 3rd June. Experience tells me that these predictions are normally not correct. In any case summer would certainly come to an end in 3 to 4 weeks. And after that until next summer Hyderabad will have very moderate seasons for nine months with lovely weather. 

Thursday, May 13, 2010

What’s wrong, they crumbled like a pack of cards!

Ever since I started blogging over a year ago, Indian Cricket Team has not won a single Championship. And in the ongoing Twenty20 World Cup, India could not win a single match at the Super Eights stage. They are now returning home with the dubious distinction of being the last of the Super Eight teams in the world. Of course this is the same distinction they achieved for the country in 2009!
Our electronic and print media project our national cricket players as the mightiest in the world, despite all these regular defeats. Their endless debates and articles on Indian cricket quote individual records or some rare victories to present Indian Cricketers as super heroes.  They rarely project the long list of losses and non-performances, and this is obviously to satisfy the cricket loving viewers and increase their viewership and circulation. They made us believe that this year’s Twenty20 World Cup Championship is ours when we could not reach even the Semi-Finals stage and are at the last position – the eighth. After India lost to Australia and West Indies it was out of the Championship. But Indian media found all possible backdoor means and methods with lots of ifs and buts and mathematical calculations to project Dhoni’s team as certain World Champions. But with their third defeat, that is with Sri Lanka late in the night of 11th May they are not critical of the defeat or analyzing the team’s performance but are trying hard to blame the earlier IPL T20 matches for draining the spirit and talent of our cricketers and the selection of the team. Why has the all intelligent and powerful Indian media not come out with these probabilities, reasons and solutions before, so that India could finish with a respectable ranking if not the Championship. With inputs from the media we build glorious castles with our Cricketers and they crumble like a pack of cards for innumerable reasons which we are unable to solve.
BCCI should realize that pride of the nation is more important than making money out of Cricket. What we need is not individual record making players or prima donnas but teams that can put our country at least in the third position and not the last. BCCI should ensure that the players should dedicate more time to hone their skills with regular team practice under the best of coaches. In our country people mostly perform due to threat of losing an income. With all the money BCCI has, it has to find means to develop young upcoming players and axe the non-performing and arrogant seniors. Smaller and less populated countries like Sri Lanka, Pakistan, West Indies, South Africa, England and New Zealand have been constantly beating us; can we not find some answers from this simple truth to our defeats and disappointments?
Winning and losing is a part of any game but not being in the top three positions is a big disappointment.
Sincere thanks to the creators of these cartoons. They aptly reflect the feelings of a disappointed nation.   

Incredible Coincidence!

784533 - This is a number known to our family since 1980. It is a number we all had to remember then and even today, with of cou...