New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate pivotal coal projects of Mahanadi Coalfields Limited (MCL) in Odisha on February 3. Among these is the Bhubaneswari Phase-I, a First Mile Connectivity (FMC) project in Talcher Coalfields, Angul district, built at a cost of Rs 335 crore, which will reduce rake loading time to approximately 50 minutes, introduce eco-friendly transportation, decrease greenhouse gas emissions, and reduce coal transportation costs.
Another important project is the Lajkura Rapid Loading System (RLS), constructed at an investment of about Rs. 375 crore. This system is designed to enhance coal quality and supply, achieving a loading time of around 50 minutes, embracing eco-friendly transportation, minimising greenhouse gas emissions, and reducing overall coal transportation costs. These endeavors not only significantly alleviate environmental impact but also create valuable employment opportunities for the local youth, the Ministry of Coal said in a statement.
In addition to these milestone projects, the Prime Minister will also inaugurate IB Valley Washery, built at a cost of over Rs 550 crore in Jharsuguda district of Odisha. This project will mark a paradigm shift in coal processing for quality, signifying innovation and sustainability raising the bar for coal quality standards and aligning with India’s vision for cleaner and more efficient energy solutions.
Furthermore, the Prime Minister will dedicate a 50-km-long second track of the Jharsuguda-Barpali-Sardega rail line Phase-1 to the nation, built by MCL with an investment of Rs 878 crore. This expansion is poised to significantly enhance rail infrastructure, facilitating seamless transportation and ensuring efficient coal supply chains.
“With a combined investment of approximately Rs 2,145 crore, these endeavors underscore the government’s commitment to strengthening coal infrastructure for a consistent and efficient energy supply. These projects are expected to bring significant benefits to the coal industry in Odisha and contribute to the country’s energy security,” said the government.
In line with the principles of PM GatiShakti National Master Plan for providing multi-model connectivity and to reduce logistics cost by enhancing efficiency, the Ministry of Coal has undertaken large-scale infrastructure augmentation to further step-up efficient evacuation of coal. With an objective to augment railway network in coal-producing areas, a joint venture (JV) of CIL, IRCON and the government of Odisha have been formed as Mahanadi Coal Rail Ltd. CIL has funded critical rail infrastructure projects for laying of additional rail lines, doubling of existing rail lines, construction of Rail-over-Rail (ROR), Y-curves etc.
Across subsidiaries, CIL has planned to set up mechanised coal transportation infrastructure from pit-head to railway loading point through the construction of First Mile Connectivity (FMC) projects. A total of over 100 FMC projects for all larger mines have been planned. These projects, on the one hand, improve the loading efficiency, reduce loading time, and on the other hand, contribute in reducing emission and pollution, said the Coal Ministry.