ROURKELA: Even as expansion plans of Mahanadi Coalfields Limited (MCL) are on track, the PSU will have a task at hand to augment its coal evacuation infrastructure while addressing pollution concerns.
The expert appraisal committee of coal mining sector, in its seventh meeting on Friday ‘duly considered’ further expansion of MCL’s Kulda Open Cast Project in Hemgir block of Sundargarh district to 19.60 MTPA from the current 14 MTPA.
In the current financial year, MCL has set a target to produce 27 MTPA coal from Kulda, Garjanbahal and Basundhara open cast projects.
With commissioning of the Jharsuguda-Sardega dedicated single line from September 2018, MCL has significantly improved its figures of transportation of coal by rail.
However, it has a long way to go when it comes to ending the practice of transporting coal by road.
As of now, MCL dispatches around 60-65 per cent coal by rail. It has initiated steps to augment evacuation infrastructure at Hemgir to 50-60 MTPA by 2024.
Sources said work orders have been awarded for commissioning of two rapid loading systems, each with 10 MTPA capacity, near Sardega for around Rs 400 crore.
The systems are likely to be commissioned in two years.
This apart, six more loading bulbs and as many loading silos will come up at Barpali.
Plans are afoot for doubling of Sardega-Jharsuguda line till Raigarh in Chhattisgarh to lessen the burden on Howrah-Mumbail line.
The coal evacuation infrastructure augmentation is significant as MCL has set a target to operationalise its Siarmal mines by end of 2022 with Basundhara open cast project nearing saturation point.
Meanwhile, the economic blockade at Taparia village by locals who disrupted movement of coal laden trucks on Bankibahal-Taparia road entered its 12th day.
Initially the protestors were demanding repair of the damaged road but now are adamant on stopping transportation of coal through their village.