Odisha to ink MoU with Coal and Railway Ministries for Evacuation of Coal

Bhubaneswar (BBS): The state government will sign an MoU with coal and railway ministies on April 20 for a special purpose vehicle (SPV) at Talcher and Ib Valley in Jharsuguda for evacuation of coal.

“It is first-of-its-kind initiative in the country. Under the SPV, project-specific railway tracks can be laid with private parties on equity participation,” said commerce and transport secretary Sanjay Rastogi. Official sources said the state government will have 10% equity in the project while it will be 64% for the coal ministry or its PSU, Mahanadi Coalfields Limited, and 26% for the railway ministry.

To facilitate speedy evacuation of coal from these coalfields, the Centre in February had proposed two SPVs. Union coal secretary Anil Swarup discussed the issue with chief secretary G C Pati the same month.

Augmentation of the railway infrastructure in Talcher and Ib Valley is crucial as Coal India Limited (CIL) has set a target to produce one billion tonne (1000 MT) of coal by 2019. Similarly, MCL, a subsidiary of CIL, is planning to double its production from 125 million tonne a year by 2020, the sources said.

The ministry of coal is also pushing for completion of 52-km long Jharsuguda-Barpali (Sundargarh) rail link at Ib Valley region by December 2017. The railway project, a major source of coal transportation within the state, was approved by the Centre in 1999.