Project push: Railways to complete three key coal links by 2016

Amiti Sen Siddhartha P Saikia New Delhi | Updated on January 24, 2014

S. Narsing Rao, CMD, Coal India

Lines in Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Odisha to facilitate delivery of around 300 mt of fuel; will help CIL and firms with captive mines

After 15 years, the Ministry of Railways has committed to complete three crucial rail link projects by 2016. The rail connectivity would help evacuate and deliver to customers nearly 300 million tonne of coal annually from mines in Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Odisha.

The sudden promptness from the Railways to complete the lines, pending since 1999, is seen as the impact of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh-headed Cabinet Committee on Investment pushing for fast-tracking of projects.

S Narsing Rao, Chairman and Managing Director of Coal India, said: “These lines would not only help Coal India to evacuate coal, but it would also help several public sector and private companies which have captive mines in these areas.

The three lines would facilitate around 250-300 million tonnes of coal movement every year.”

The three rail corridors, which include Tori-Shivpuri-Kathotia in North Karanpura, Jharkhand; Bhupdeopur-Korichhaapar to Mand Raigadh mines in Chhattisgarh and Barpali-Jharsuguda in IB Valley, Odisha, are to be completed by 2016-end.

The lines in Odisha and Jharkhand are fully funded by Coal India, while the one in Chhattisgarh would be set up through a joint venture. Miners other than Coal India would also be allowed to use these lines. Those agreements would be negotiated separately, Rao told Business Line.

Demand-supply gap

With the increasing gap between demand and supply of coal in the country, the Coal Ministry and the Prime Minister’s Office’s were pushing for these lines to be commissioned. Earlier, the PMO had also ordered the Railways to execute the three railway tracks within three years of the necessary clearances being obtained. But, things did not move on ground.


“Time-lines for various activities to be undertaken as part of implementation of the projects, such as land acquisition, tree felling, bridge construction, earth work, electrification and laying of lines, have been submitted to the Prime Minister’s Project Monitoring Group (PMG),” a Cabinet Secretariat official said. The Coal Ministry, which had approached the PMG last year for getting the three rail projects get off the ground, claims that coal availability problem in the country could get solved once these crucial rail links are in place.

According to CIL, while it has the potential for incremental supplies, the coal cannot be transported in the absence of rail connectivity to transport it from the mines to industry.

The three rail links, once completed, would help transport 300 mt of coal annually which is about half the 650 mt of coal consumed annually in the country.

“The detailed scheduling of various activities will help the PMG keep track of whether the projects are moving as per plans. If there is any deviation, it can be corrected,” the official said.

The schedule will now be placed before the CCI.

Published on January 24, 2014

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