Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann Friday urged Union Power Minister RK Singh to allow 100 per cent supply of coal to Punjab through direct rail mode instead of existing rail-ship-rail mode.
Mann, who called on RK Singh at his Delhi office, said that Union Ministry of Power has asked Punjab to start lifting 15-20 per cent domestic coal through RSR mode from January 2023 from Mahanadi Coalfields Limited (MCL) /Talcher Mines. Mann said that Talwandi Sabo Power Limited in Punjab has coal linkage of 67.20 lakh MT with MCL/Talcher and as per the advisory, about 12-13 lakh MT is to be routed through RSR mode.
Mann lamented that transportation of coal by RSR mode will result in increase in landed coal cost by about Rs 1,600 per MT thereby causing an additional financial burden of about Rs 200 crore every year. He said that the distance through train route between MCL and Punjab is around 1,900 kms adding that by the proposed RSR Mode, train distance will be around 1700-1800 kms in addition to sea travel of around 4360 kms between Paradeep and Mundhra. He asserted that Punjab is located farthest from MCL hence transportation cost is 60 per cent of the total landed coal cost.
Mann also rued that the relief in freight provided by the Railways to thermal power plants located beyond 1400 kms has not been extended after its expiry on December 31, 2021, which has resulted in an increase in freight cost. He asserted that due to multiple transportation and handling of coal through RSR mode, the transit loss will increase from 0.8 per cent to 1.4 per cent besides deterioration in quality of coal adding that due to multiple transhipment, the total transportation time from loading at source (MCL) to unloading at power plant destination will be around 25 days instead of 4-5 days through rail route.