The Merry-Go-Round (MGR) system, a closed-circuit dedicated rail transportation system between the production and consumption points, is set to handle more of Coal India Ltd’s production in the coming years than it does at present.

“Within one year, the MGR system will handle an estimated 110-120 million tonnes (mt), up from the present 84 mt annually”, S Narsing Rao, CMD of CIL, told Business Line. “Right now, the MGR system handles seven mt of coal per month on an average; the figure is to rise to nine to 10 mt a month on average within a year or so”.

This would be possible because new MGR systems were being installed and the existing systems upgraded. For example, the new 10 million tonne per annum capacity MGR system to be commissioned shortly at Kanhia mines under Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd is to facilitate coal transportation to NTPC’s thermal power plant at Talcher in Odisha. The existing 10 mtpa MGR system connects MCL’s Lingaraj mines to the NTPC plant.

CIL’s total despatch of coal so far this fiscal has been put at 292 mt and the shares of different modes of transportation were as follows: rail 146 mt, road 84 mt, MGR system 55 mt and conveyor system seven mt.

East Coast Railway (ECoR) that transports coal from MCL mines to NTPC’s Talcher plant does not seem unduly worried at the prospect of losing traffic when the MGR system at Kanhia is commissioned. “At present we load two rakes a day on an average at Kanhia for the NTPC plant. The loss of two rakes a day of coal traffic is not a matter of concern to us as there is now huge demand for rakes not only from other coal consumers but also various other sectors,” a spokesman for ECoR told Business Line.

Right now the average daily coal loading at Talcher mines is more than 31 rakes. “Unfortunately, this rate of loading is not possible to maintain throughout the year due to various factors such as inclement weather, law and order problems and the strained industrial relations situation,” he said adding, “barring unforeseen developments we could see a throughput of 30 mt at Talcher mines in the current fiscal.”

(This article was published on December 18, 2012)
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