The shortage of coal for coal based thermal plants which will have to be met through import. In order to bridge the above gap between demand and coal availability, Power Utilities are expected to import around 159 million tons (MT) to meet shortage in coal supply from CIL.
However, such a huge quantity of imported coal for blending may not be feasible as in the existing boilers where maximum 15% of blending of imported coal is possible. This quantity of imported coal would be in addition to 54 MT coal likely to be imported by thermal Power Stations designed on imported coal. Therefore, the total quantity of coal required to be imported is about 213 MT.
Working group on coal for 12th. Plan has envisaged the average wagon requirement at 446 rakes/day out of which 165 rakes/day will be required on account of imported coal. Wagon loading in 2010-11 had been 295 rakes/day. The annualized growth in rail loading, thus envisaged to be 7.1%. Railway connectivity between ports and hinterland consumption centers would be of vital importance for movement of imported coal. In the perspective of widening gap between demand and indigenous availability of coal, time bound fast-track implementation of coal projects should be given highest priority.
To optimize coal transportation Railways will have to augment their capacity to evacuate coal from major coal fields namely North Karampura, Ib Valley, Talcher and Mand Raigarh. For smooth and faster evacuation of coal, coal conveyors should be used to transport coal from mine to rail head with automatic loading in wagons.
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