Recently, concerns were raised by some media reports that power generation stations that are situated far from mines are suffering because of discrimination in the allotment of rakes. These media reports have further claimed that the power plant operated by RattanIndia Power Limited in the state of Maharashtra has also been shut down due to a shortage of coal resulting from insufficient allotment of rakes by the Indian Railways’ South East Central Railway zone. However, the Ministry of Railways has dismissed these misleading media reports as well as issued clarifications regarding these false claims. These clarifications are as follows:
- According to the ministry, there is a large number of Thermal power plants in the South East Central Railway zone, which are having less stock of coal as per new coal stocking norms. Many of these shorter distance Thermal power plants have both mechanized unloading flexibility namely ‘Tippler unloading system’ which utilizes an open wagon with side door as well as ‘Hopper unloading System’ which utilizes hopper wagon with bottom opening.
- The hopper rake’s unloading time is much less i.e., three hours per rake, therefore, it has a better turnaround. As a result of this, rake supply to these shorter distance plants dealing with faster circuit Hopper rake improves naturally.
- There is no hopper unloading system in the Amravati Power plant. This is why there is less supply of rakes.
- During April-June 2021-22, many of the long-distance thermal power plants have regulated the supply of coal to save on the inventory cost. A large number of railway rakes got stabled on account of the regulation of coal supply by these long-distance thermal power plants. With the demand for power picking up, its existing stock got liquidated, the ministry said.
- Indian Railways in consultation with MOC and MoP are having a road map already in place for supplying rakes to long-distance Thermal power plants, which is being implemented to create adequate coal stock at these plants.