Orissa agitation hits coal, iron ore loading on East Coast Rly, S-E Rly

Santanu Sanyal Kolkata | Updated on February 22, 2011 Published on February 22, 2011

A file photo of a goods train carrying tonnes of iron ore.   -  Business Line

The rake loading of coal and iron ore in several parts of Orissa has come to a stand still due to local agitation in support of more passenger services by the railways. The East Coast Railway (ECoR), a major coal loading zonal railway, and the South Eastern Railway (SER), a major loader and transporter of iron ore, have been badly hit as a result.

The agitation has particularly hit the coal loading at Talcher mines.

The ECoR, on an average, loads at Talcher 28 rakes of coal a day out of its total daily coal loading of 50 rakes at various locations, each rake containing around 3,700 tonnes.

“The agitation has been on since February 17 and we've already lost more than one million tonnes of coal traffic”, according to a spokesman for the ECoR.

Those spearheading the agitation, with the active support of local political parties, are demanding that all passenger trains on the Cuttack-Sambalpur section must stop at Talcher.

Right now, seven pairs out of a total of 18 pairs stop at Talcher.

Power houses hit

Several power houses located at Kanhia, Raichur, Vijayawada, Simadri and even Tamil Nadu have been affected by the suspension of coal loading and movement from Talcher.

The plants of Nalco, Vedanta and several other industries dependent not only on Talcher coal but also various other materials too have been hit.

Inquiries with the Paradip Port Trust reveal that the arrival of rakes carrying coal for coastal shipment has dropped significantly. However, ground stocks are helping maintain the shipments. “The stocks will be exhausted within 10 days or so”, said a spokesman for the port.

The iron ore loading and transportation from Banspani-Jaruli area in Orissa also remained suspended for several hours on Tuesday following agitation by local people demanding immediate passenger services between Kendujhargarh and Barbil covering about 126 km.

Freight trains regularly run on the route but no passenger train. The ECoR loads in the area about three rakes and SER nearly 40 rakes of iron ore a day.

The extension of the Puri–Keonjhargarh Express to Barbil was announced in the Railway Budget for 2009-10 but the extended passenger service is yet to start due to various reasons.

Interestingly, the Railways has already announced the time-table of Puri-Barbil-Puri (Train Nos. 8416/8415) Express for the Keonjhagarh-Barbil section although no passenger train is running on the section. Puri-Barbil–Puri continues to run up to Keonjharghar station.

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Published on February 22, 2011
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