Work on 3 crucial rail links for coal to be over by Dec 2016

Three crucial rail link projects that will help evacuate and deliver over 200 million tonnes of coal from mines in Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Odisha are likely to be completed by December 2016, a senior government official said.

The three rail corridors, which include Tori-Shivpuri- Kathotia in North Karanpura in Jharkhand,Bhupdeopur-Korichhaapar to Mand Raigadh mines in Chhattisgarh and Barpali-Jharsuguda in IB Valley, Odisha, will be completed by December 2016, Additional Secretary and central project monitoring group (PMG) Chairman Anil Swarup told reporters on the sidelines of an event here today. "Rail linkage for any coal mining project is very crucial. These three projects, which were pending since a very long time for want of certain clearances, have now got the necessary approvals and we believe the construction work will be complete by December 2016," he said.

The three rail links, once completed, would help transport over 200 million tonne of coal annually, which is very important at this stage especially when domestic coal production is only around 500 million tonne, he said. The coal ministry had approached the PMG last year for getting the three rail projects off the ground claiming the coal availability problem in the country would get resolved once these links are in place. Swarup said the PMG has received applications for 449 stalled projects, worth over Rs 1,000 crore each, entailing an investment of Rs 22 lakh crore.

"Out of these 449, nearly 163 projects worth an investment of over Rs 5.7 lakh crore have been cleared," he said. The PMG has also initiated a process to digitise all applications for clearances relating to forest, environment, exploration of mining and coal by March 2015. "We have already digitised the process for forest clearances for industry and infrastructure projects from July 15. This will be followed by online environmental approvals from September 1 and clearances for exploration of mines from November 1.

"For coal-related clearances, all applications could be uploaded on the web by the end of the financial year," Swarup said. State governments are also setting up project monitoring groups that will monitor projects between Rs 100 crore and Rs 1,000 crore. So far 13 states including Maharashtra, Odisha, Uttrakhand, Kerala, Chattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and Karnataka, among others, have set up PMGs

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