With lack of transport infrastructure hampering coal production, the government says it has brought on track one of the three critical rail links in Chhattisgarh and efforts are on to fast-track other two in Jharkhand and Orissa.
“There is potential to add another 200 or 300 million tonnes if three critical rail links are expedited in the states of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Orissa… Timelines have been drawn up and the Chhattisgarh rail link has come on track,” coal and power minister Piyush Goyal said in an interview.
Goyal said “for the other two rail links there are certain issues in a federal structure again dependent on states and I am hoping to get them sorted out expeditiously,” or else the govenrment would find out other modes of transportation.
The statement comes at a time when the projects pending for completion for a decade at a time when potential production loss from lack of railway connectivity is estimated at equivalent to over two-third of CIL’s total annual output at about 460 million tonnes (MT).
The three rail corridor projects entailing about Rs 7,500 crore expenditure are — Tori-Shivpuri-Kathotia in North Karanpura, Jharkhand; Bhupdeopur-Korichhaapar to Mand Raigadh mines in Chhattisgarh; and Barpali-Jharsuguda in Ib Valley, Orissa — which are under different phases of development.
As per original plans, rail project for North Karanpura coalfield, work on which had started in 1999, was scheduled for completion in 2005 but only half of it would be completed by March, 2015. Likewise, the Ib Valley project in Orissa, which too started long ago, should have been completed in 2009.