To speed up the rail links, the gov ernment is forming special purpose vehicles in which Coal India is likely to hold the majority stake, followed by the Indian Railways and the respective state governments. The SPVs will set up three rail lines that will have the capacity to carry 300 million tonnes of coal from areas that are now logistically constrained. The estimated investment in these projects is about . 8,000 crore. A tripartite memoran` dum of understanding has been signed for the 93-km Tori-ShivpurKathautia railway line. Coal India will hold a 64% in this venture, the Indian Railways 26% and the Jharkhand government 10%.
The second project is a 52-km Jharsuguda-Barpalli track in Odisha. The third project is a 450 km stretch in Mand-Raigarh coalfields in Chhattisgarh.
Coal India officials agreed there is a “concentration of risk“ in the production expansion plan, with some 463 million tonnes to come from 25 of the 152 projects to be developed by 2020.
The projects that have been planned are mostly opencast mines. Coal India is trying to reduce the risk by increasing production from underground mines, which currently contribute about 10% of output, which was 494.24 million tonnes in 2014-15. However, underground mining is an issue because producing from deeper seams is costlier, the official said.