Govt working on 14 coal-evacuation rail projects for quick transit of fuel

NEW DELHI: The government is planning to strengthen the rail infrastructure and has stressed on commissioning 14 critical coal-evacuation rail projects for faster transportation of fuel, as higher fuel prices is likely to put pressure on the railways for transportation of domestic coal.
The projects include — Tori-Shivpur Railway Line (on Deposit Basis), Jharsuguda-Barpali-Sardega Rail Link at Ib-Valley Coalfield of MCL in Odisha (on deposit basis) and Shivpur-Kathautia Railway line (through SPV).
In a meeting held last month, under the Chairmanship of Coal Secretary A K Jain, the status and progress of these projects was reviewed.
Thermal power generation from imported coal-based plants is likely to drop further due to higher fuel prices and would put stress on the railways for transportation of domestic coal.
“Almost eight per cent of the thermal power generation used to come from imported coal-based plants, which has fallen to three per cent due to higher coal prices. This is most likely to drop further in future, this will bring stress on railways for transportation of domestic coal in order to eliminate/ substitute import of thermal coal,” Jain said.
According to the minutes of the meeting, this issue is linked with the necessity of energy for the country.
“Cabinet Secretary will be specially reviewing capability of Railways for transportation of coal upcountry as most of the imported coal-based thermal power plants are located on coast and far off,” he said.
Coal handling plant and other first-mile connectivity projects will help in reducing turnaround time of wagons/rakes which is very important, the secretary said adding that commissioning of these 14 rail projects is pivotal for faster and efficient transportation of coal.
With regard to Tori-Shivpur Railway Line, it was informed during the meeting that the execution of this project is in full swing and is likely to be completed by March next year.

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