Amidst coal shortage at thermal power projects, Indian Railways has made arrangements for transporting coal round the clock to power plants. The coal shortage is being treated as an “emergency” by the national transporter internally. Instructions have been given to the principal chief operations managers of all zones of Indian Railways to man operations control rooms 24X7 and create hourly bulletins for the ministry as well as the general managers, according to an IE report. Meanwhile, the number of coal rakes loaded per day, on Monday, rose to around 440 – 450 from approximately 430 at the time when the coal shortage came to light.
On Monday, 1.77 million tonnes of coal were transported, up from 1.48 million tonnes of coal on the same day last year. According to sources quoted in the report, even if the demand reaches around 500 rakes a day, the national transporter is geared up to comfortably handle it. According to officials, a large number of rakes of coal are coming from coal fields in the country’s eastern part and such areas serviced by the East Central Railway zone among others. The report further said in a huddle with the Power and Coal Ministries, the Railway Ministry has assured that for Indian Railways, carrying capacity was not a constraint and that the national transporter was ready to transport as much coal to power houses as needed.
A senior ministry official was quoted in the report saying that the situation will not get back to normal in a day or two and the ministry is fully geared up to meet the demand for transportation of coal to power plants. Along with Indian Railways’ loading and unloading, the movement of empty rakes is also being monitored strictly and sources quoted in the report said that the wait is for the month of November, traditionally the demand for power sees a dip.