Railways, Jharkhand & Coal Ministry sign MOU to construct Rail Lines in the Command Areas of Central Coalfields

Ranchi: The Jharkhand government, Coal Ministry and Railways today signed memorandum of understanding for formation of a joint venture to construct railway lines in the command areas of Central Coalfields Ltd, a CIL arm.

The MoU was signed by the officials of the respective sides in the presence of Union Minister of State for Coal and Power (Independent Charge) Piyush Goyal, Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das, Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha and Minister of State for Rural Development Sudarshan Bhagat.

The Coal Ministry’s share in the JV company is 64 per cent, the Railway Ministry’s contribution is 26 per cent and the state government has a 10 per cent share in the total Rs 1,000 crore equity for construction of two railway lines and 10 railway sidings in the command area of the CIL’s subsidiary Central Coalfields Ltd (CCL).

Coal Secretary Anil Swarup, Coal India (CIL) Chairman S Bhattacharya and senior railway officials were also present on the occasion.

In his address, Goyal said the long-pending Tori-Shivpur railway line (44 km) and Shivpur-Kathotia railway line (48 km) are among the lines to be constructed under the project.

The rail transport, Goyal said, could carry 20 crore tonnes of coal that could help generate 40,000 MW electricity, supplying power to the entire eastern part of the country.

This would be in line with the government’s policy for power for all.

Goyal said that additionally, not only coal but there could be freight movement of other material. There could also be passenger movement which will benefit the people. There could be employment opportunities as well.

CIL said in a statement that a tripartite MoU was for formation of a JV to undertake project development, financing and implementation of identified projects on equity basis, a move that will yield positive results in coal evacuation logistics from North Karanpura coalfield area of CCL.

“All (the three parties) have reached a consensus that there is a need for development of rail infrastructure for evacuation of coal through rail.

“The development of the corridors shall be implemented either through the proposed JV or through separate project specific Joint Venture Companies,” it said.

The JV also extends for construction of railways sidings under the Tori-Shivpur-Kathotia railway line.

The construction work of the railway lines shall be undertaken only after process of land acquisition and environmental/forest clearances have been completed, and financial closure has been achieved, Coal India said in the statement.

It further said that the basic idea is to speed up the critical Tori-Shivpur-Kathotia railway line. The important railway line extending 93.5 kms and covering a total area of 1,053 hectares is one among the three critical lines that CIL is actively pursuing.

The other two are in Chattisgarh and Odisha. The major recipients of coal would be the power utilities of North and Western Grid, it said.

CIL is on a drive to step up its supplies to power utilities of the country and reduce the import dependency to the extent possible.

Some of the moves that the coal miner is pushing hard is coal linkage rationalisation, purchase of railway wagons with upfront money out of its own funding and clearing evacuation bottlenecks.

The nation could save Rs 12,000 crore annually, besides cutting down green house gas emission, if coal is transported by rail instead of trucks in command areas of Central Coalfields Limited, a top CCL official said here today.

“It takes Rs 5-5.50 per km per tonne coal to transport by trucks while it’s Rs 1.30-1.50 by rail transport — a difference of Rs 4,” CCL Chairman-cum-Managing Director Gopal Singh said here.

Speaking during the signing of an MoU among the Coal Ministry, the Railway Ministry and the Jharkhand government for a rail project in the command area of CCL, Singh said the maximum expenditure was made by power plants and savings of a huge sum would translate into cheaper tariffs.

Currently, 80 MT tonne coal are being transported by trucks, and completion of the rail tracks would help raise it up to 150 MT, which would also increase in coal royalty, the CMD reasoned.

Apart from these benefits, he added that health hazards to villagers would also come down after switching over to the railway transport from diesel trucks.

“The railway balance sheet will also strengthen,” Singh added.

Union Minister of State for Energy, Renewable Energy and Coal Piyush Goyal, Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha, Minister of State for Rural Development Sudarshan Bhagat and other senior government officials attended the MoU-signing ceremony.