What Indian Railways is planning for suspended section

8 January 2018

To tackle the issue of non-movement of freight, especially coal, and passengers on the Dhanbad-Chandrapura railway section in Jharkhand, the Indian Railways has planned to lay a diverted railway route. The proposal is set to be discussed by the Railway Board members next week.

The move is expected to ensure steady fuel supply to coal-based power plants and prevent the repetition of low-coal stock scenarios in the future. According to railway sources, while a plan has been suggested by the transporter’s arm RITES, the ultimate alignment of the tracks will be decided by the railways and the project will be funded by Coal India (CIL).

According to a railway official, the railways has also prepared a detailed project report for the diverted line. According to reports, two diverted lines — Nichitpur-Tundu and Matari-Telo — will be discussed during the meeting. The 34-km railway line between Dhanbad and Chandrapura was closed in June 2017 as the route was found unsafe, given the underground fire in the mines; it affected daily movement of 37 passenger and freight trains. While parts of the railway lines at both ends have been made operational to ferry passengers and operationalise one coal siding at Tundu, a critical 14-km stretch has remained closed. Bharat Coking Coal (BCCL) was compelled to allocate 8-10 rakes from its supply to Central Coalfields (CCL) due to the closing of the Dhanbad-Chandrapura line.

“We are loading two rakes from Tundu and so the impact on coal loading from that area is almost taken care of. Earlier, the railways used to load five-six coal rakes that accounted for 8-9 mt a year,” said another railway official. In case a diverted railway line is laid, fire is doused and full production is resumed, it would a windfall for India’s coal production as more than 1,400 mt of coal, as per an assessment made in 2009, can be freed up. The 2009-assessment also estimated that 37 mt of prime coking coal was destroyed due to fire. In total, 41 collieries have been affected due to fire.


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