No logic of transporting coal through rail-ship-rail route for Punjab, says power engineers federation

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The All India Power Engineers Federation on Tuesday lambasted the Centre’s decision of allowing coal to be transported through a rail-ship-rail route, claiming that this was putting additional costs.

Punjab should be allowed to transport coal by rail route only, chief patron of All India Power Engineers Federation, Padamjit Singh, wrote in a letter to Union Power Ministry.

The power ministry has asked Punjab to start lifting coal from the Mahanadi and Talchar coalfields in Orissa through through the rail-ship-rail formula from January 2023.

AIPEF, in its letter, has also alleged that due to lobby of ports and shipping business houses, the coal that was earlier moved by rail would now be transported through the longer rail-ship-rail route.

On Tuesday, Padamjit Singh said that the 1980 MW Talwandi Sabo Power Limited in Punjab has coal linkage of 67.20 lakh MT with Mahanadi and Talchar and as per the advisory, and 15-20 per cent of the total annual requirement — which is about 12-13 lakh MT — was to be routed through rail-ship-rail mode.

VK Gupta, the spokesperson All India Power Engineers Federation said that the present practice at Talwandi Sabo plant was that coal is moved from the mine by rail, covering a freight distance of around 1900 km. In the rail-ship-rail mode, the same coal will now be transported 1700-1800 km by rail and another 4360 km by sea.

Further, due to multiple transportation and handling of the coal being ferried through the new mode, the transit loss will increase from 0.8 per cent at present to 1.4 per cent. Besides this the quality of coal will deteriorate due to multiple trans-shipments.

The total transportation time under the rail-ship-rail mode will be around 25 days, as against 4-5 days through the conventional rail route.

Punjab has already expressed its reservation of ferrying coal through the rail-ship-rail mode because of the higher cost as well as transportation cost involved, with state Chief Minister urging Union Power Minister RK Singh to allow 100 per cent supply through direct rail mode.



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