With coal shortage at power stations leading to generation losses at frequent intervals (in January, state-run NTPC had complained to the power ministry about critical fuel shortage at four of its plants), the government has come out with a permanent solution to the issue: Coal India will, over the next five years, acquire enough railway rakes to transport coal to all thermal power stations in the country, without having to wait for the railways to make the container trains available to it.
Currently, around 260 rakes a day are used by CIL for coal transportation, all on rent. It is estimated that CIL would need 288 rakes a day to meet the country’s electricity generation targets in 2018-19. CIL pays the railways Rs 35,000 crore annually as freight, a cost borne finally by its consumers. Once the rakes are owned by the company, the freight bill will reduce drastically as only track rents will need to be paid to the national transporter.
Shortage of railway rakes for coal transportation has been one of the major reasons behind the supply shortage. In order to improve supply of coal to power plants, the government had earlier asked electricity generation units located within 60 km from the mines to build covered conveyor belt systems for coal transportation. Read More…
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