Govt to expedite construction of 3 rail lines to move coal

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The government today said it will expedite the construction of three critical rail lines to facilitate faster transportation of coal to power plants, thereby helping in bringing nearly 100 million tonnes of incremental traffic to Railways.

The announcement comes at a time when the power plants across the country are facing fuel shortages.

"Railways will speed up construction of critical coal connectivity lines in Tori-Shivpur-Kathautia Area (in North Karanpura, Jharkhand), Jharsuguda-Barpalli-Sardega (in IB Valley, Odisha) and Bhupdeopur-Raigarh-Mand Area (in Chhattisgarh)," Railway Minister Sadananda Gowda said while presenting Railway Budget 2014-15.

"This will bring nearly 100 million tonnes (MT) of incremental traffic to Railways and will also facilitate faster transportation of coal to power houses," Gowda said.

The three rail corridor projects, entailing about Rs 7,500 crore expenditure, are under different phases of development.

Coal and Power Minister Piyush Goyal had last week said that one of the three critical rail links in Chhattisgarh has been brought on track and efforts are on to expedite other two in Jharkhand and Odisha.

"There is potential to add another 200 or 300 million tonnes if three critical rail links are expedited in the states of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Odisha...Timelines have been drawn up and the Chhattisgarh rail link has come on track," Goyal had said.

As per original plans, rail project for North Karanpura coalfield, work on which had started in 1999, was scheduled for completion in 2005 but only half of it is likely to be completed by March, 2015.

Likewise, the IB Valley project in Odisha, which too started long back, should have been completed in 2009.

Coal India (CIL) has already provided over Rs 300 crore to Railways for the projects.

CIL accounts for over 80 per cent of the domestic coal output. It missed output target of 482 MT for 2013-14, producing 462 MT.

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