The special purpose vehicle (SPV) planned by Odisha for developing common road and rail corridor in coal-rich Angul-Talcher belt at a cost of Rs 5,000 crore faces uncertainty and delay with state controlled miner Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC) not keen on the project.
The SPV was to be developed as a 50:50 joint venture between OMC and Odisha Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (Idco). But with the fate of allocated coal blocks hanging in balance in the aftermath of coal block allocation row, OMC is not interested in investing capital to build infrastructure for virgin coalfields.
“Given the prevailing uncertainty on future of allocated coal blocks, we don't think it is prudent to invest on infrastructure for coalfields. So, OMC is not keen to be a part of the SPV presently”, said a senior executive of OMC.
A top Idco official said, “OMC is not keen on being a part of the SPV. We are on the lookout for a suitable joint venture partner. If we are unable to find any equity partner, Idco will develop the common infrastructure corridor on its own.”
It may be noted that the state government had already given its approval for the SPV named 'Mahanadi Railway' for developing a common corridor for rail, water and power in the coal rich Angul-Chhendipada-Talcher region.
The common corridor will support 10 blocks operating in the Talcher Coalfields under the command area of Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL).
The development of the 143-km corridor is estimated to cost Rs 5,000 crore and it is expected to handle coal traffic in excess of 100 million tonne annually.
The proposed corridor will be connected to rail heads at three locations- Jharpada, Angul and Budhapanka. The common corridor will have multiple entry and exit points and no surface crossing. Besides, flyovers have also been proposed to avoid cross movements at junction stations.
The project is designed to have multi-point centralised loading stations conceived along the corridor rather than individual bulb connections with a view to avoid interference or wastage of coal bearing areas. Road and water pipe alignment will run parallel to rail alignment.
More than 50 industries in sectors like steel, aluminium and power sectors are expected to be the beneficiaries of this proposed corridor.
It may be noted a number of power and steel companies, which have been allotted coal blocks in the area, are facing resistance with regard to land acquisition for construction of private railway sidings. The construction of a common corridor is expected to overcome the problem.
A similar corridor is also being considered for the Ib valley region.