Mineral deposits in Chhattisgarh's Kabeerdham district, which many big players ignored to explore, could now see a new life.
This will be made possible as the region, endowed with rich mineral deposits, will soon be connected by rail. The state government and the Indian Railways on Monday inked an agreement to develop a rail line from Katghora (from East-West Corridor) in the Korba district to Dongargarh via Mungeli, Kawardha (Kabeerdham) and Khairagarh.
The foundation stone for the project, which would entail an investment of Rs 59.5 billion, was laid by Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh and Railway Minister Piyush Goel in Korba. The 255-kilometre rail line project would be executed by Chhattisgarh Railway Corporation Limited, a joint venture of the Ministry of Railways and the Chhattisgarh government.
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Besides iron-ore deposits, the Kabeerdham district has limestone and bauxite reserves. Vedanta-controlled Bharat Aluminium Company Limited is the only big group operating in the district to feed raw material for its Korba facility. The lack of proper connectivity has caused many companies to stay away from exploring the rich mineral deposits there.
In 2008, the state government invited proposals from companies to develop the iron-ore mines that had a reserve of 100 million tonnes. Besides ArcelorMittal, Tata Steel and six other companies initially showed interest. But the proposal could not take shape.
In 2012, Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) was allotted the mines and an agreement was also signed. The state-run miner later withdrew. The new rail line, which would connect to the Howrah-Mumbai main rail route, would be a big boost for the region.
Besides, foundation stones for three other rail projects, which will expand the network in the coal-bearing areas of Korba and Dharamjaigarh, were also laid. In all, the four projects would involve an investment of Rs 99.52 billion.