Railways, private power companies to team up for rail project in Chhattisgarh’s coal hub

The Railways is likely to announce plans to develop three industrial freight corridors in Chhattisgarh in the coming Budget.

The projects, taken up on the initiative of the Chhattisgarh government, are to be rolled out in the form of special purpose vehicles where the Railways would be a stakeholder, along with equity stakes from a bevy of private sector power developers who are setting up projects in the State. The Chhattisgarh government too would contribute in kind by providing the land and thereby be a partner in each of the three projects.

While the primary objective for floating the ventures would be to use the rail network for ferrying coal, with an estimated 24 million tonnes of coal traffic expected to ply on the route once it is up and running, the Railways stands to gain in terms of getting to use the line for passenger traffic too. The link is also expected to substantially help in the overall development of the naxalite-prone mining hub of Chhattisgarh.

According to officials involved in the exercise, the proposed links include a north, an east and a east-south corridor, all of which would essentially serve to connect the coal mining areas in the State’s interiors. The starting point for the three lines would be Korba, Ambikapur and Raigarh, all key coal mining areas. The power developers who would be a part of the proposed ventures include KSK Power, DB Power, Athena Power, Visa Power and RKM Powergen. These private firms are already jointly laying a 83 km dedicated corridor, mainly for transporting coal from the captive blocks to the projects sites. This link would, eventually, be subsumed as part of the three SPVs that are being set up, officials said.
State-owned NTPC is also expected to be a big beneficiary if the rail links comes up as it too is in the process of setting up a 4,000 MW mega thermal project in the State.
Source: Indian express

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