Bhubaneswar: The long-pending Jharsuguda (Chakradharpur Division) to Barpali (Sambalpur Division) railway line in Odisha, one of the three critical links for faster transportation of coal, will become operational next month, a top official today said.
These links are significant as the country is planning to double coal production to 1 billion tonne by 2020.
“Jharsuguda-Barpali railway line, which was languishing for years, will become operational from July 1, this year,” Coal Secretary Anil Swarup said at India Coal Summit here.
Talking about the progress of the other rail lines – Tori-Shivpur link in Jharkhand and East-West corridor in Chhattisgarh – he said they would be completed by December next year. “I am hopeful that by December 2017 – give or take 2-3 months – (they) will be ready.”
All the three critical rail lines over a period of time will transport more than 200 million tonnes of coal, he said.
“We have this ambitious plan of producing one billion tonnes but unless we are able to evacuate coal from the mines, mining of coal will not matter. I must place on record that we are getting outstanding assistance from the Ministry of Railways. We ask for rakes…We get them,” he said.
Coal India Ltd (CIL) which accounts for over 80 per cent of domestic coal production, is eying one billion tonnes of coal output by 2020.
The government has set a production target of 598 million tonnes for CIL for the ongoing fiscal. The PSU produced 536 MT in 2015-16.