Coal India last week operationalised a 44-km long railway track in Chhattisgarh, using the East Rail Corridor to strengthen its daily despatching capability to Maharashtra and Gujarat.
The track from Kharsia to Korichapar Chhattisgarh coal transport from Mand-Raigarh and Korba coalfields of South Eastern Coalfields Limited (SECL), the largest coal producing subsidiary of Coal India Limited.
The East Rail Corridor was developed by Chhattisgarh East Railway Limited (CERL), which is a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) between SECL, the Chhattisgarh government and IRCON International Limited with Rs. 3,055 crore allotted for laying down a 136 km rail line in Kharsia to Korichapar and then furher to Dharamjaygarh and Korba.
While SECL holds a stake of 64 per cent stake in this SPV, the Chhattisgarh government and IRCON holds 10 per cent and 26 per cent stakes respectively.
“SECL has started loading two rakes of coal per day from Bijari, Baroud and Jampali mines of Mand- Raigarph coalfield which will increase further five to six rakes per day pushing up coal supplies to power stations of Maharashtra and Gujarat” a Coal India official said.
With Kharsia-Korichapar line opening up, Mand-Raigarh coalfields of SECL endowed with large coal resources will have an evacuation outlet for transportation of coal.
The availability of transportation facility further unlocks the production potential of these coalfields for supply of coal to power houses. “As the work progresses and infrastructure is developed we shall start loading more coal” the official said.
In its goal of reaching 1 billion tonne of coal production, SECL is expected to play a lead role by contributing around 26 per cent of the goal at 262 Million Tonnes.
The next leg of the 30-km line between Korichapar and Dharamjaygarh is likely to come up by middle of 2020. Later, with Dharamjaygarh finally getting connected to Korba – a stretch of 62 Kms – CERL will see its conclusion of 136 Km rail line.
Previously, the two other important tracks; Jharsuguda-Sardega under Mahanadi Coalfields in Odisha and the Tori-Shivpur track under Central Coalfields Ltd in Jharkhad were commissioned.
These railway tracks connect mines which have large coal reserves and production potential which will contribute to higher coal production of Coal India in the near future.
Besides, in August this year, the Maharatna PSU’s Board has green flagged the proposal to procure 40 rakes of its own at nearly Rs. 700 crore. One rake comprises of 59 wagons. A back of the envelope calculation indicates that one rake can move 1.4 million tonne of coal per annum.
With the internal rate of return being financially viable and attractive, Coal India expects to realize its entire investment on the rakes within a decade. With the life of wagons spanning 35 years it would be an asset creation for Coal India as well.
During 2018-19, on an average, Coal India loaded 236 rakes per day which is expected to climb up to 400 rakes per day in the coming years as the company has set the 1 billion tone production target.
Initially, the rakes would ply in South East Central Railway (SECR) zone in Jharsuguda-Nagpur and Katni northwards covering complete IB Valley and the entire stretch of SECL region where the production is expected to perk up, catering to the demand of 15 power plants under SECR.