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Mahanadi Coalfields to invest Rs 9000 crore on rail infra for coal movement

Coal minister announces three-fold hike in ex-gratia for fatal mines

Coal field
MCL is the second largest subsidiary of CIL, contributing about 25% to its total production

Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL), a subsidiary of Coal India Ltd (CIL), would invest in upwards of Rs 9000 crore in the years to come to create railway infrastructure for enabling seamless movement of coal.

This was announced by Pralhad Joshi, Minister for Coal & Parliamentary affairs. The envisaged investments wold go into doubling of Sardega-Barpali-Jharsuguda railway line, modernization of Jharsuguda railway station, construction of double-leg flyover and building of 204-km railway network in two phases of construction.

Joshi undertook an aerial survey and inspection of mining operations at Talcher coalfields which has of late, been witnessing disruption in coal production and despatches. In July this year, a strata failure at Bharatpur open pit coal mine triggered a landslide, causing casualties of coal workers. The mishap sparked outrage among workers, paralysing coal production and supplies for two weeks.

Wary of accidents at coal mines, the minister announced 300 per cent hike in ex-gratia amount for fatal coal mine accidents from Rs five lakh to Rs 15 lakh. This measure is expected to cover 0.35 million mine workers of CIL.

“I announce enhancement in ex-gratia from Rs five lakh to Rs 15 lakh for the coal workers, both permanent as well as the contractors, in case of fatal mine accident. The government of India is committed to uplift the standard of living of common man and we are steadily working to create more jobs and entrepreneurship opportunities for the youths”, Joshi said.

He also announced that MCL which has given over 16,000 permanent jobs in lieu of land since its inception, will offer employment to more than 4000 land oustees in Odisha by 2024-25.

CIL chairman A K Jha and MCL's chairman & managing director B N Shukla were present on the occasion.

MCL is the second largest subsidiary of CIL, contributing about 25 per cent to its total production. MCL exited 2018-19 with production of 144 million tonnes (mt). Inn FY20, MCL eyes coal output of 160 mt out of CIL's projected 660 mt.