Numerous coal reserves in India are still unexplored which can be extracted only if bottlenecks in transportations get resolved.
India, despite of being the fifth largest coal reserves of the world faces shortage of the coal. As the regions with coal reserves in India are still untouched, the Indian railways with improved connectivity can be the answer. According to Coal Secretary, S K Shrivastava, around 50-60 MnT of coal can be extracted annually till the end of 12th five year plan period (2012-17) with new connectivity. Furthermore, the extraction quantity can be increased up to 200-250 MnT pa by the end of 13th five year plan, he added.
If the number of railway lines is extended to coal-rich areas located in Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand, a lot of more mines can be brought under mine developer-cum-operator (MDO) mode. Coal ministry has already identified five such mines which can be brought in MDO mode as soon as the railway lines are ready. “We are looking at MDOs in a big and comprehensive way,” says Mr Shrivastava.
Private coal miners henceforth will be allowed to bid for contracts as a third party and carry out all operations like land acquisition, resettlement and rehabilitation, mining and development. The coal miners will have to supply coal at a tender-determined price to avail the mentioned benefits. While, CIL holds a near monopoly over coal, some private miners such as Adani have already won contracts and started operations as MDOs.
The railway lines problem is causing delay in release of contracts for coalfields such as Raigad, North Karanpura, Mahpur and Gopalpur. The Coal Ministry is in talks with the Indian Railways to solve the transportations problem.