Coal India (CIL) has identified 14 additional first-mile connectivity (FMC) projects where it will invest Rs 3,400 crore more in the second phase to boost mechanised transport and loading. This will take its total investment in the project to Rs 15,700 crore.
The state-owned miner transports 151 million tonnes (mt) of coal through mechanised system and loads through coal-handling plants (CHPs) and silos from 19 projects, which will now be increased to 557 mt by 2023-24 through projects in phase 1. The projects under phase II will start contributing once the formalities of finalisation are over.
Under the phase I, the state-owned miner has zeroed down on 35 projects, each having 4 mt of capacity from six of its subsidiaries with a capital of Rs 12,300 crore. Their combined project capacity is 406 mt. Under the phase II project, 14 additional projects have been identified, which will entail an investment of Rs 3,400 crore having a capacity to handle 100.5 mt of coal.
Of the 14 new projects, Central Coalfields (CCL) accounts for five with 62.5 mt per annum capacity. Mahanadi Coalfields with a solitary project has 20 mt per annum capacity. Eastern Coalfields has seven and South Eastern Coalfields has one project with a capacity of 14 mt per annum and 4 mt per annum, respectively.
FMC is the transportation of coal from pitheads to despatch points. This move aims to replace the existing road transport between the two points and switch over to a seamless mechanised coal transport through conveyor belts, which will reduce dust pollution. It will also have the benefit of computer-aided loading of railway wagons.
As a corollary, the Maharatna company will set up CHPs with silos having rapid loading systems, which will have benefits like crushing, sizing of coal, quicker and better quality coal loading.
“This will be a tipping point in our coal transportation in the first mile. The multiple advantages include easing the load on road networks, saving on diesel costs, cleaner environment, and stoppage of possible pilferage,” said a senior executive of the firm.