Orissa's crackdown on illegal mines affects iron-ore loading at Paradip port

Santanu Sanyal Kolkata | Updated on March 12, 2018 Published on June 01, 2011

A file pic of iron ore loading in a cargo vessel in Paradip port.   -  The Hindu+SEP+THE HINDU

The number of rakes of iron ore moved to Paradip port for exports has dropped, said railway sources.

In February, six rakes a day on an average were moved into Paradip port, [which has] since declined to around three rakes, sources in the South Eastern Railway said. During the same period, throughput at Haldia port has increased from two rakes to 2.5 rakes a day. Iron ore loading for Visakhapatnam port, too, has increased from around 2.75 to three rakes a day.

Earlier, East Coast Railway, according to sources, used to move two to three rakes a day into Paradip, as against virtually nothing now.

This has led to two unsatisfactory developments for the railways. First, the rail coefficient has dropped — to 51 per cent now from 65 per cent in 2010-11. More ore is being transported by road to Paradip than before. Second, the railways is moving empties or empty rakes to the port to facilitate back-loading of imported cargo, particularly coal.

On an average, seven to eight empties are being moved into the port against none previously, adding to the cost of the railways.

When contacted, Paradip port sources said iron ore exports through the port dropped in past couple of months despite 13 to 14 per cent growth in the port's overall traffic throughput. “We would have achieved a much higher traffic growth but for not-so-satisfactory situation on the iron ore front,” a source said.

While neither the port nor the railways would comment on the why iron ore loading has decreased, inquiries reveal that the crackdown on illegal mining by the Orissa Government could be a major reason. The crackdown has led to closure of several mines in iron-rich Banspani-Jaruli area.

According to one estimate, about 25 per cent of the mines at Joda under Banspani-Jaruli area have not been functioning for past few months. Particularly hit are customers of the wagon investment scheme of the railways, especially traders.

They have invested in rolling stock to get an assured supply of rakes at a concessional freight for uninterrupted movement of ore. Now the rakes are without the ore. They, therefore, have stopped placing indents with the railways.

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Published on June 01, 2011
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