In order to make coal transportation through railways more robust, the government is working on a number of plans such as advance rake-booking, wagon owning and doubling of railway lines.
In order to make coal transportation through railways more robust, the government is working on a number of plans such as advance rake-booking, wagon owning and doubling of railway lines. At an event here on Thursday, Piyush Goyal, who heads the railway and coal ministries, said that the Centre is also working rigorously to develop 14 new lines identified for coal movement. After coal-supply scenario at power plants reached critical levels in the second half of 2017, the railway ministry has increased the number of rakes for coal transportation to 320 rakes, out of which 280 earmarked for power. Goyal said that the government is doubling a number of coal-carrying railway lines, which would transportation capacity by 4-6 times. The policy to book railway rakes 12-months in advance at an assured rate would also address the last-minute availability issues, Goyal added. His ministries are also working on strengthening the wagon-owning policies, which would liberally allow private companies to own railway infrastructure, and offer more attractive returns than previous similar schemes. Coal India (CIL) is mulling investments to the tune of Rs 20,000 crore in the next five years to buy about 2,000 rakes. Goyal was speaking at an event to launch the ‘Uttam’ app, designed to bring more transparency in the coal sampling process and improve the quality of the dry-fuel. The ‘Coal Vision 2030’ — a study commissioned by CIL to assess future demand scenarios for the domestic coal sector up to 2030 — was also discussed in the event. An earlier version of the study identified developments in solar and energy storage technologies, downward revision of economic growth, and the NPA crises in the coal-consuming power and steel sectors as some of the main challenges to coal. The report had estimated coal demand at 900-1,000 MTPA by 2020 and 1,300-1,900 MTPA by 2030, adding that there was limited requirement of starting new coal mines except the ones already auctioned/allocated.