The central government has undertaken 14 railway projects spread across Eastern Indian states to augment the process of coal transportation. The total cost incurred will be Rs 22,067 crores. This project will reduce the time and cost incurred in the transportation of the dry fuel and will evacuate up to 410 million tonnes per annum (MTPA), the coal ministry on Friday said.
“The government is endeavoring for a cleaner environment has placed great impetus to further develop rail transportation of coal,” a written statement by the ministry said.
The projects will span over a distance of about 2,680 km covering Jharkhand, Odisha and Chhattisgarh, the largest coal-producing states. The new railway lines, will provide better connectivity and reach for the transportation of coal.
Moreover, Coal India is infusing an estimated Rs 14,200 crore for the first-mile connectivity (FMC) projects by 2023-24, in two phases for its 49 FMC projects, the statement added.
CIL has placed the rapid loading system in 19 of its mines constructing 21 additional railway sidings at an estimated investment of Rs 3,370 crore across four of its subsidiaries. These fresh and existing projects, will be commissioned by 2023-24. The company is aiming to move about 555 MT of coal per year through mechanised means by FY24.
With railway connectivity for coal transport, the ministry hopes that the major pitfalls that road transport causes – like environmental pollution and heavy cost of the coal miners, can be addressed. Currently, Coal India Ltd (CIL) incurs about Rs 3,400 crore on transportation charges of coal.
Also, large volumes of coal being transported via road can lead to accidents while passing through rural areas that do not have adequate road infrastructure to ply heavy trucks. To avert these hindrances, the government has been working on alternative modes of transport, like inland waterways and coastal shipping, the statement further detailed.
Currently, coal is being transported majorly through railways, followed by road transportation and MGRs. These modes are aimed at increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of the transportation of coal.
The Ministry of Coal is aiming to develop the entire evacuation channel starting right from the mines by investing in the development of silos, CHPs going up to the last channel and developing the railway sidings, and constructing multiple railway lines to facilitate smooth movement of coal across the country.