Public sector majors NTPC (National Thermal Power Corporation) and BHEL (Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited) are both working for recalibrating turbines to use domestic coal in bigger measure, union coal and railway minister Piyush Goyal said at an ASSOCHAM event on Wednesday. “Many turbines in India cannot take beyond a certain percentage of domestic coal as they have been designed on imported coal (technology), I am glad that NTPC and BHEL are both working to recalibrate those plants,” said Goyal while addressing an ‘ASSOCHAM Interactive Session on Coal Industry.’
“Even if it needs further investments we will allow it as a pass-through in power pricing but try and enable yourself to use domestic coal, it is worth the saving for the nation as a whole,” said Goyal. The union minister for railways also informed that his ministry was looking at changing the return that is allowed to companies or investors to own railway assets.
“Suppose one of you wants to set up your own railway line anywhere, we are going to liberally allow you to do it, if you want to own your own rakes or wagons to have an assured supply of coal movement, we can allow you to own it, not at the rates of return that you were allowed in the past which were very unattractive, but literally at a rate of return which would be quite attractive for performing companies,” explained Goyal. He said that state-run coal mining company Coal India Ltd (CIL) had taken a decision and is planning to invest thousands of crores of rupees to become totally self-sufficient in their rakes and wagons in next five to seven years.
“While they have not taken a final call but as per progressive future projections, we believe that there is a potential that Coal India (CIL) may land up investing nearly Rs 20,000 crore and will own some 1,500 or 1,700 rakes entirely of their own so that they are independent of any other freight movement,” said Goyal.
He also said that Indian Railways was aggressively working to finish work on 14 lines dedicated for coal movement which are under different stages of new lines, doubling or tripling of lines which are being personally monitored by coal secretary and chairman of the Railway Board on a monthly basis to make sure there are no slippages. “I personally flew down to Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh and talked to both the chief ministers to speed up land acquisition and help us implement these projects faster,” informed Goyal.