It is planning to invest about Rs. 4,000 crore

Addressing the Coal Ministry’s concerns about taking up rail projects linking coalmines on a priority basis, the Railways is planning to invest about Rs. 4,000 crore for enhancing connectivity and giving a thrust to the availability of coal for the power sector.

This initiative is part of the Railways’ plan to invest up to Rs. 9,000 crore for providing connectivity to ports, coalmines and iron ore mines. While presenting the budget, Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal said the recently revamped participative policy enabling partnership with ports, large mines, industry and investors addresses the specific concerns of private investors.

“The models seek to create a win-win situation by ensuring payback of investment mainly through freight apportionment. An investment of up to Rs. 9,000 crore is expected under these projects including Rs. 3,800 crore for port connectivity projects, Rs. 4,000 crore for coal mine connectivity and Rs. 800 crore for iron ore mines connectivity improvements,” he said.

Lack of rail connectivity is among the many problems that companies face while transporting fuel from the coal mines to their power projects. These logistical issues also impact overall electricity generation.

The Coal Ministry last month warned of serious implications, including severe shortage of coal for thermal power plants, for the southern States of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka and many northern and western States if three important railways lines connecting coal fields in Jharkhand, Odisha and Chhattisgarh were not completed in the next three years.