India’s largest coal producer Coal India Ltd (CIL) has chalked out plans to invest Rs 12,500 crore over the next three years with an aim to provide the much-needed fillip to its coal production efforts.
The Maharatna company, which accounts for more than 80% of the coal produced in the country, has seen its production stagnate over the last three years.
Around Rs 7,500 crore of the proposed investment will go towards funding Indian Railways — developing rail infrastructure including dedicated railway tracks in coal mining locations, which will subsequently be used to transport coal from hinterlands, thereby resulting in faster evacuation of coal. The company will invest the remaining Rs 5,000 crore to develop its underground mining operations.
The railway tracks would be laid in the states of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Odisha, said S Narsing Rao, chairman, CIL. “We are still working on the finer details but once these tracks are laid, they will increase coal production by around 300 million tonnes every year.”
The company has produced 431-435 million tonnes of coal in the last three years.
“The basic issue, today, is not about production rather the evacuation of coal,” said Rao. “We expect to evacuate huge quantum of coal at a faster pace through railways.”
At present, he said, there exists a gap of around 45 million tonnes between approved coal extraction and actual evacuation.
It has also earmarked an investment of Rs 5,000 crore for development of underground mining.