Target to complete Jharsuguda-Barpali rail project by Dec’17

Bhubaneswar: With the public sector Coal India Limited (CIL) targeting one billion tonne coal production by 2019, the Centre and Odisha governments today jointly resolved to ensure completion of Jharsuguda-Barpali railway link project by December 2017.

“The proposed railway line project between Jharsuguda and Barpali connecting different coal mines of Odisha needs to be completed by December 2017,” Union Coal Secretary Anil Swarup told reporters after a review of 15 projects here.

Stating that the 53-km-long Jharsuguda-Barpali railway link was significant as it would connect most of the coal mines in Odisha, Swarup pointed out that CIL has set a target of producing 1,000 million tonnes of coal by 2019, while Mahanadi Coalfield Limited (MCL) also aimed at increasing its output to 200 million tonnes from 110 million tonnes.

The Jharsuguda-Barpali Rail link project is a part of the three inter-state rail corridor projects proposed by CIL, which are dedicated to coal evacuation in Maoist-affected areas of Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand.

Two other projects are the 93 km Hazaribagh-Shivpur-Tori- Kathotia rail corridor project and the 180 km Bhupdeopur-Korichhapar-Baroud rail link project.

“We are happy that the Odisha rail project has progressed a lot in comparison to the two other projects in Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand,” Swarup said.

The Rs 4.7 billion Jharsuguda-Barpali railway link project was announced in January 2006 by the CIL to link its Ib Valley coal fields in Odisha.

Odisha Chief Secretary G C Pati said the state government would provide all possible support for implementation of different coal projects.

During the review, MCL authorities said the company’s different projects were facing hurdles due to lack of forest clearance.

“Today the joint review meeting between the state government and the Centre has set specific timeline for completion of different projects,” MCL director (Technical) J P Singh said.

MCL, which is one of the major coal producing companies in the state, is also facing difficulties over land acquisition, forest and environment clearance and law and order problems.