Coal India firms up Rs 40,000-crore domestic coal evacuation plan

Under phase-I of the first-mile connectivity or transport of coal from mine’s end to dispatch points, CIL will increase rail connectivity projects to 24
In a bid to give a fillip to the Centre’s Aatmanirbhar Bharat programme, Coal India (CIL) has drafted plans to ramp up domestic coal evacuation facilities at a cost of Rs 40,000 crore.


The miner will execute 35 projects to improve first-mile connectivity and coal handling plants as well as create more rail lines and sidings.


Coal handling capacity of these 35 projects is estimated to be close to 405 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) by FY24. Each of the mining projects would have production capacity of 4 mtpa and above.


“As of now, three of the projects have already been commissioned. Of the remaining 32 projects, 29 have been awarded and are at various stages of construction. Tenders were opened for the remaining three and are under scrutiny,” said a senior CIL executive.


In June last year, the finance minister — under the Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan package of Rs 20 trillion — allocated Rs 50,000 crore for creating coal evacuation infrastructure. It included Rs 18,000 crore for mechanised coal transport. The move was in line with the Centre’s efforts to bring down coal imports.


Under phase-I of the first-mile connectivity or transport of coal from mine’s end to dispatch points, CIL will increase rail connectivity projects to 24. They are 11 currently. These points would also have coal handling plants at mines with rapid loading systems.


In the second phase, CIL will set up 14 more first-mile connectivity projects.


On Friday, Mahanadi Coalfields, one of the subsidiaries of CIL, inaugurated its 10th railway siding at Talcher Coalfields in Odisha.


The company said it will enhance the deptach capacity of the mine to 4 mtpa.


“CIL is constructing 21 greenfield and brownfield railway sidings in four of our subsidiaries in addition to 132 operational sidings for dispatching coal to consumers. The company is also funding construction of 12 rail line projects. The dovetailing of existing and new rail sidings with a rapid loading system will help improve loading quantity in future,” said a senior executive of CIL.


CIL is currently increasing the capacity of two key rail lines — Jharsuguda-Sardega in Odisha and Tori-Shivpur in Jharkhand.


Along with this, it is also planning to construct the Shivpur-Kathautia rail link through a joint venture for transporting coal through the Kathautia-Koderma circuit in Jharkhand.


A Sardega-Pelma line of about 30 kms is proposed to be constructed through a new rail joint venture. CIL said this will enhance integrated coal evacuation arrangements for both Mand-Raigarh and Basundhara coalfields in Odisha.


“The proposed rail link will be a game changer in traffic movement from this area as it bypasses the congested Howrah-Mumbai trunk route and Bilaspur to Pendra Road branch. This link provides an alternative traffic route and reduces travel distance by 75 kms,” said the executive.

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