Private rail line by mining co thrown open to traffic

Firoz Rozindar Bhimasamudra (Chitradurga) | Updated on January 30, 2011

On a new track : Chitradurga MLA, S.K. Basavarajan, flagging of the goods train at Bhimasamudra village on Friday.   -  THE HINDU

The rail line from the BBH mine near Bhimasamudra to Amritapur station, Chitradurga taluk, was thrown open to goods traffic on Friday. This is expected to improve efficiencies in iron ore movement in Karnataka.

The Mineral Enterprises Limited (MEL), a private mining company took up this project, a 10.5 km stretch, at a cost of around Rs. 65 crore.

“The railway link is surely going to ease the traffic movement on the roads. Besides, it would be even more feasible for the mine owners to transport the ore to steel plants of Karnataka and the neighbouring States such as Andhra Pradesh and Goa”, MEL Managing Director, Mr Basant Poddar, said.

Addressing presspersons after participating in the flagging off programme, he said that the new link would increase freight earnings for the Railways.

He said that a wagon with 60 bogies can transport 3,900 tonnes of ore, which would yield a revenue of Rs 1,200 crore annually to the Railways. Mr Poddar said that it took nearly five years for the company to commission the project, for which some 125 acres was acquired from the farmers by spending around Rs 3 crore.

He said that the company would spend roughly Rs 30 lakh annually as recurring expenses.

The company, that also exports the ore to China besides supplying to the domestic steel plants and cement industry, was exporting 1.5 million tonnes of ore at the cost of $150 million a year to China.

“But after the State Government banned exports, we are losing huge revenue for the past six months,” he said.

Terming the Government decision of banning exports as impractical, he said that India exported only low-grade ore, which was not used domestically as it required high-tech machinery and lots of electricity to convert the ore into iron.

“Since China has this technology, they import this low-grade ore. The high-grade ore is sold in India itself. Now, after the Government banning the export, the low grade is simply being dumped in the yards. We can neither sell it to the foreign countries, and nor will the local companies buy it,” he remarked.

Published on January 30, 2011

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