Coal India board accord in-principle approval to East Corridor Railway project

New Delhi: The CIL board has given its in-principle approval to East Corridor Railway project that may see an investment of around Rs. 2,500 crore to facilitate movement of passengers as well as freight, primarily coal, from Chhattisgarh.

“During the last board meeting, the East Corridor Railway project in Chhattisgarh was approved,” a senior Coal India official told.

The around 180-km long East Corridor will take the route – Kharsia-Chhal-Gharghoda-Korichhapar-Dharamjaygarh-Korba – and connect mines of Gare-Pelma block.

The project will be developed by special project vehicle (SPV), Chhattisgarh East Rail Ltd and South Eastern Coalfields Ltd holds its 64 per cent stake, while Indian Railways promoted IRCON has 26 per cent share and Chhattisgarh government 10 per cent.

Another rail project, East-West Corridor has also been planned by another SPV, Chhattisgarh East-West Rail Ltd with the same shareholding pattern. The Coal India board is yet to clear this project.

The Coal India official said though projects are given approvals, they will have to be placed again before the full-board with independent directors for ratification.

Currently, there are only seven board members out of total strength of 14 members without any independent directors.

Three critical railway lines in Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Jharkhand will increase coal evacuation by 200 million tonne over the next several years. The coal ministry has identified 51 new railway lines to connect blocks of various Coal India subsidiaries.