State-miner Coal India (CIL) has three to four fully developed large-size coal blocks ready for production lying idle for lack of railway linkages for coal evacuation.
The news, given by a representative of the thermal power sector hit by fuel shortages, comes in the backdrop of coal block de-allocations being undertaken by the coal ministry. "Recently, the Coal India chairman told me that they have 3-4 large-size coal blocks that have been fully developed and are ready to produce, but they have no linkage with the railways for evacuation of coal," Lajpat Srivastav, CEO Hindustan Powerprojects, said here Thursday at the ET Power Focus Summit.
Warning that the country was looking at coal shortage to the tune of 160-170 million tonnes beyond 2015-16, Srivastav said: "A high-powered committee was supposed to be looking into the coal evacuation issue."
A high-level inter-ministerial committee was constituted during the second quarter by the Prime Minister's Office to consider faster implementation of critical railway projects in potential coalfields.
The coal ministry said at the time that three critical rail links were being fast-tracked to ensure transportation of coal from CIL mines in Odisha, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh. The projects are likely to be completed by the end of 2017.
Coal India chairman S. Narsing Rao has said that the three coalfields require only about 300 km of rail connectivity to provide at least 300 million tonnes of additional coal production per year.