The Coal Ministry has 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 India States if three important railways lines connecting coal fields in Jharkhand, Odisha and Chhattisgarh are not completed in the next three years.
In a note to the Ministry of Environment and Forests and the Railways, the Coal Ministry has stated that it would not be possible for Coal India Limited (CIL) to achieve either the targeted production of 615 million tonnes of coal by 2016-17 or any incremental coal production during the XII Plan if the railway tracks in these three coal producing States were not put in place in the next three years.
“If the incremental production from Mahanadi coalfields does not materialise, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka would suffer heavily. Likewise, if the unexpected incremental coal does not come from Jharkhand, all Northern States would face server coal shortage, even at the existing thermal power plants. Western States such as Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Gujarat will suffer if the proposed railway line in Chhattisgarh does not materialise,’’ the note has clearly stated.
The three important railways lines include, the Tori-Shivpur-Kathotia (Hazaribagh) BG triple line for the North Karanpura coalfield (CCL Jharkhand); the Jharsuguda-Barpali including connection and loading blub of 8 km at Barplai, BG doublie line for IB Valley coalfield (MCL, Orissa) and Bhupdeopur-Korichapar/Broaud-Dharamjaygarh up to Korba (East Corridor and Gevra Road to Pendra Road (West corridor 122 km) in Mand Raigarh Coalfield, double line BG for Mand-Raigarh coalfield (SECL, Chhattisgarh).
Mand Raigarh coalfield (Chhattisgarh) also holds a potential of 100 MT per annum and the Ib and Talcher coal fields hold a potential of about 90 MT per annum. The matter has also been brought to the notice of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), which has already taken a note of the situation and a meeting has also been held to fast-track construction of these railway tracks.
The note states that implementation of the above three railway lines could help in enhancing coal production by about 300 MT, which would meet the growing requirement of thermal coal. In addition to this, it states, the Railways will be able to generate about Rs.10,000 crore per annum as freight revenue from the incremental coal produced from these coalfields and the State governments would get additional revenue of Rs.2,000 crore per annum in the form of royalty and VAT.