• Associate Sponsor

To check flying coal dust hazard, Railways looking at covering its wagons: Piyush Goyal

An ongoing investigation by The Indian Express has revealed that transport of coal, at the rate of 25 tonnes per minute, by rail and road, has left in its wake environmental damage across Goa.

Written by Avishek G Dastidar | New Delhi | Updated: November 4, 2017 10:12 am
coal, Piyush Goyal, Express Investigation, Coal Goa investigation, coal burying Goa, Railway minister Railway Minister Piyush Goyal. (Source: Express photo by Abhinav Saha)

Indian Railways, the country’s largest freight mover, has started exploring a design change in its rolling stock to see if coal and other minerals can be carried in covered wagons instead of open ones to prevent coal dust from flying into the environment and also to expand the use of wagons.

“I have asked our teams to explore the option to see what design can be created… if these wagons can have covers. So they are looking into it,” Railway Minister Piyush Goyal told The Indian Express Friday.

An ongoing investigation by The Indian Express has revealed that transport of coal, at the rate of 25 tonnes per minute, by rail and road, has left in its wake environmental damage across Goa. And that much more coal is on the way — an estimated 51 million tonnes every year by 2030.

Speaking at the Idea Exchange programme of The Indian Express, Goyal said: “I take all of these reports… and I read them every morning. I take cognisance of that.”

Coal burying Goa: Read our full coverage here

Being the largest mover of coal in India, Railways has deployed around 72,000 wagons — or around 65 per cent of its freight rolling stock — to move coal across India since it occupies the top spot in terms of volumes and earnings among all kinds of material it transports. It accounts for around 40 per cent of railway earnings.

Known as BOXN wagons, these open-to-sky boxes on wheels are used for coal-carriage for operational efficiency as they can be loaded and unloaded faster, owing to being coverless. They are typically overturned for unloading faster. Loading too is easier in BOXN in mines, as well as in ports where imported coals are loaded from silos.

coal, Piyush Goyal, Express Investigation, Coal Goa investigation, coal burying Goa, Railway minister

To prevent coal dust from flying into the environment, water is sprinkled on the coal at the loading point, and in many cases — like in Goa — the wagons are covered with tarpaulin. But as The Indian Express investigation has revealed, this solution is far from foolproof.

Now, the Railway Board has started exploring the option if these wagons have to be fitted with a hard-top cover without compromising the operations efficiency of freight movement.

coal, Piyush Goyal, Express Investigation, Coal Goa investigation, coal burying Goa, Railway minister

“We have suggested that the new design should not decrease the coal-carrying capacity of each wagon because that hurts our revenue. And from an operational point of view, it should enable tippling,” Railway Board Member Traffic Mohammad Jamshed told The Indian Express. “Tippling” is the technical term used for mechanised overturning of wagons for unloading and loading by special wagon tipplers.

There is more benefit in covered wagons than protecting the environment. Covered wagons will make them more multipurpose, to carry anything from cement to salt — commodities which are difficult to move in open-to-elements wagons. “We have to given cement companies a 30 per cent discount if we carry cement in BOXN wagons because there is the fear or rain etc,” he said.

For all the latest India News, download Indian Express App

  1. H
    Hari
    Nov 5, 2017 at 1:53 pm
    There is large scale theft of coal from railway wagons in E.Try. So railway minister must curb Coal theft by making RPF responsible.
    (0)(0)
    Reply
    1. M
      Mahipati
      Nov 5, 2017 at 11:24 am
      The environment in the country has been damaged to the extent we are unable to breathe clean air resulting in many deaths. In many countries coal wagons, garbage carrying vehicles are covered with aluminium sheets to reduce weight.when it comes to welfare of government raises issue of money otherwise it is Achhe din
      (0)(0)
      Reply
      1. C
        Citizen
        Nov 4, 2017 at 5:31 pm
        It is good but sprinkling water would reduce this problem. It is time for the minister to remove the AC waiting hall fees as this is nothing but looting the regular passengers some proposed this and a committee of more brainless guys approved this it is more misused as recently seen by me. Minister should think of better ways to improve the income of the railways. Jaihind
        (1)(0)
        Reply
        1. V
          V.V.S. Prasad
          Nov 4, 2017 at 7:22 pm
          There are many people not buying tickets and travelling. The railways should minimise this. They shud remove all concessions including those for employees. Contractors corruption maximum. If these are corrected it would be much better
          (0)(0)
          Reply
        2. S
          S Subramaniam
          Nov 4, 2017 at 3:56 pm
          The tranquility and scenic natural environment prevailing in the surroundings where the residents are living in their own houses out of their hard earned savings cannot be restored by merely covering the coal carrying wagons train. The coal trains are running at regular intervals is making the lives of those living either side of the rail way tracks miserable for want of FOB or subway. These issues also needs to be addressed realistically.
          (0)(0)
          Reply
          1. L
            Lucian DSilva
            Nov 4, 2017 at 3:54 pm
            Closed wagon will be costly to transport in the way the extra load of cover more then tons per wagon and also without air the coal powder can get gradual process heat and explode into fire. Therefore, why the official don't harness the possibility of procuring the coal in its solid form instead of powder form. The rock solid coal can be transported in open roof wagons covered with tarpaulin sheets and spray of water. Plus the sides of the tracks mostly passing through dwelling, helmets, towns, cities and countryside and flaura, fauna vegetation, can be fenced with sheets on both sides, this way minor coal dust, if they escape from the coal rocks, can get obstructed on the side coverings, the dust can be recovered for use. This way also new job can be generated for the Coal crushing Plants, nearby the Power Plants.
            (0)(0)
            Reply
            1. Load More Comments
            Adda