New Delhi: Three critical rail links being fast-tracked at the highest level will ensure transportation of 300 million tonne (MT) additional fuel to consumers amid shortages being faced by the country, Coal Ministry has said.
Coal India Ltd (CIL) has maintained that it has potential for incremental supplies which can't be done at present in the absence of rail connectivity to transport the dry-fuel.
Three rail corridors are: Tori-Shivpuri-Kathotia in North Karanpura, Jharkhand; Bhupdeopur-Korichhaapar to Mand Raigadh mines in Chhattisgarh; and Barpali-Jharsuguda in IB Valley, Odisha.
On completion, they "can help transport 300 MT of coal annually, enabling Coal India to meet the demand of the nation", the Coal Ministry has said in a note.
It said that production build up is a big challenge. Besides, it added, the movement of coal from producing centres to the consuming centres is a challenge and a number of potential coalfields are suffering from lack of rail infrastructural facilities for coal evacuation.
"To match the movement of coal with the projected production levels, a number of critical rail links have been identified" and a "high-level Inter Ministerial Committee constituted by PMO is addressing the issue of faster implementation of critical railway projects in potential coalfields," it added.
The Cabinet Committee on Infrastructure (CCI) in July agreed to monitor the progress of the three rail links critical for transporting coal from CIL mines located in Odisha, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh.
The difficulties faced in execution of these three projects, entailing Rs 7,500 crore expenditure relate to forestry and environment clearances besides land acquisition, rehabilitation/resettlement as well as law and order problems.
The government had earlier said that two rail projects, including Tori-Shivpur, are likely to be completed by the end of 2017 and will facilitate coal evacuation besides pushing up production of the fuel.
Coal India CMD S Narsing Rao has said these three coalfields require only about 300-odd km rail connectivity to provide at least 300 MT of additional coal production per annum to fulfil the thermal power requirements of the country.
Rao has said that these railway lines are essential to meet 12th Plan power capacity addition as CIL was unable to evacuate coal in absence of transportation facilities.
The demand-supply gap of coal is likely to widen to 185.5 MT in 2016-17. The country had to import a record 135 MT coal last year to meet domestic requirement.
First Published: Sunday, September 29, 2013, 12:05