Ongoing Jharsuguda-Barpali Rail link to evacuate 20 MT Coal: Secretary, Min.of Coal

Bhubaneswar (BBS): The first phase of the ongoing Jharsuguda-Barpali rail link set to overcome the state’s coal evacuation woes, is expected to be completed by June 2016, a top official in the Coal ministry said here.

“Among the three railway lines being taken up for coal evacuation, the Jharsuguda-Barpali rail link has made the best progress. The first phase of this railway line is expected to be ready by June 2016, earlier than the scheduled timeline. The railway line can evacuate 20 million tonne of coal,” said Coal secretary Anil Swaroop.

Coal stockpiled at pitheads has been a pressing issue for both the Centre and the state government. To overcome this problem, the Coal ministry had planned two special purpose vehicles (SPVs) for Odisha for speedy evacuation of coal from Talcher and Ib valley coalfields

The state government has already signed memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Coal and Railways ministries for the first SPV.

In the SPV, the Odisha government will have 10 per cent equity. The Ministry of Coal or its PSU, Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL), a Coal India subsidiary, will have 64 per cent stake while the Railways ministry through any of its PSUs – Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd (RVNL) or IRCON will hold 26 per cent equity.

Coal evacuation has assumed significance as the Coal ministry has prepared a roadmap to ramp up production by Coal India Ltd (CIL) and its subsidiaries.

Coal India’s production is targeted to go up to one billion tonne by 2020 from 500 million tonne at present.

Similarly, coal output of MCL, a CIL subsidiary, is also set to be expanded from 125 million tonne a year to 250 million tonne by 2020.

“MCL produced 120 million tonne coal in 2014-15. This fiscal, MCL’s output is expected to touch 150 million tonne. Today, we discussed the problems related to 11 coal mining projects of MCL. We believe that through joints efforts of the Centre and the state government, these problems can be solved expeditiously,” he said.

The coal secretary took stock of MCL’s 10 open cast coal mine projects – Jagannath, Bharatpur, Kulda, Siarmal, Bhubaneswari, Lingaraj, Balaram, Hingula, Kaniha and Ananta and one underground mine – Nataraj. The problems relate to forest land diversion, land acquisition and rehabilitation & resettlement (R&R).