PSU miner Coal India (CIL) has firmed up plans to invest Rs 19,650 crore to augment coal evacuation capacity through rail mode. The augmentation would move an additional 330 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) by FY 2024 with the miner significantly scaling up production.
The despatches of increased volume through rail mode would be both from upcoming greenfield and brownfield expansion projects, some of which have already become operational. CIL said, it was constructing three important railway lines from its own funds, on deposit basis, in Central Coalfields (CCL ) and Mahanadi Coalfields (MCL) at an estimated investment of Rs 7,994 crores. The three lines would have 170 MTPA coal transportation capacity.
The company has also forged four rail joint ventures with Chattisgarh, Jharkhand and Odisha at a capital outlay of Rs 11,656 crore to move 160 MTPA. Around 69% of CIL’s overall coal output was expected from CCL, MCL and SECL (South Eastern Coalfields Ltd) by 2025. The company was aggressively laying foundation for evacuation infrastructure in these coalfields, a senior executive of the company said.
“These rail infra projects would boost our evacuation. It is important to have a robust coal transport mechanism in place to cope up with increased volumes of production in the ensuing years. We are laying the groundwork for it.” said the executive. The doubling of Tori-Shivpur (CCL) rail line was already commissioned in December 2019 and the tripling of the line was under process. The tripling shall enhance evacuation to 100 MTPA from the existing 32 MTPA.
Jharsuguda-Barpali-Sardega (MCL) single line was commissioned in April 2018. The construction work for doubling of the line along with loading bulb at Barpali and a flyover complex at Jharsuguda were under progress. Dovetailing first mile connectivity (FMC) projects of Sardega (20 MTPA) and Lajkura (15 MTPA) to the rail connectivity would lift MCL’s transportation capacity additionally by 65 MTPA.
The four rail JVs were in various stages of progress with the main rail corridor of Kharsia to Dharamjaigarh, a 74-km stretch under Chhattisgarh East Railway Ltd ( CERL) in SECL, already operational. CIL holds 64% stake in these JVs with the rest 36% made up by the rail PSUs and respective states.
At present, CIL’s rail transportation from its own sidings accounts for 56% of its total supplies. If loading from goods sheds, private washeries and MGR is also considered then the percentage of rail movement of coal goes higher up to 79%.