Coal India to switch to mechanised transport for 14 projects

Our Bureau Kolkata | Updated on June 29, 2020

Coal India Ltd (CIL) has identified as many as 14 additional projects for switching over to mechanised transport and loading at an estimated investment of ₹3,400 crore. The projects will be implemented under Phase II of its ‘first-mile connectivity’ (FMC) initiative.

The company has already invested close to ₹12,300 crore under Phase I of FMC for implementing mechanised transport and loading at 35 of its coal projects across six subsidiaries, each having production capacity of 4 million tonnes (MT) per annum and above. Their combined project capacity is 406 MT per annum.

The move would help improve efficiency in coal transport and computer-aided loading.

“Four coal companies of CIL together will infuse a tentative capital of over ₹3,400 crore in these projects, that have a total annual capacity of 100.5 million tonnes,” said a press statement issued by CIL.

Of the 14 projects, Central Coalfields Ltd accounts for five with a capacity of 62.5 MT a year; Mahanadi Coalfields with a solitary project has 20 MT a year; Eastern Coalfields will have seven projects and South Eastern Coalfields will have one project with capacities of 14 MT a year and 4 MT a year respectively. Tenders for these different projects will be floated beginning August this year and during the next two years.

Seamless, rapid systems

FMC is the transportation of coal from pitheads to despatch points. This move aims to replace the existing road transport between the two points and switch over to a seamless mechanised coal transport through conveyor belts, a covered system for movement of coal that reduces dust pollution. It will also have the added benefit of computer-aided loading of railway wagons.

As a corollary, CIL will set up coal-handling plants with silos that have rapid loading systems, which will have benefits such as crushing, sizing of coal, as well as quicker and better quality coal loading with the advantage of precise pre-weighed quantity of coal being loaded.

“This will be a tipping point in our coal transportation in the first mile. The multiple advantages include easing the load on road networks, saving on diesel costs, cleaner environment and stoppage of possible pilferage. Another advantage is quicker computer-aided loading of wagons,” a senior company official said in the release.

Since coal will be loaded directly into the wagons from silos, it eliminates manual loading through payloaders, which is generally prone to overloading or under loading of wagons. The susceptibility of extraneous material being loaded through payloaders, leading to quality issues, is another concern.

Improved computer-aided loading time will bring down the wagon idling. The wagon cycle time will be reduced by a few hours, increasing wagon availability.

CIL already transports 151 MT of coal through the mechanised system and loads through CHP/silos for19 projects. This would be enhanced to 557 MT a year by 2023-24 through the Phase I projects.

Of the 35 Phase I projects, two projects, one each in SECL and MCL with a combined capacity of 26 MT per annum, have been operational since February and April respectively. Seven projects of 91 MT per annum are under construction, of which four are expected to get completed this fiscal. While tenders have already been floated for eight projects having a capacity of 76 MT a year, tenders for the remaining 18 projects will be issued on fast-track mode before September-end this year.

Published on June 29, 2020

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