Why Indian Railways sees need for dedicated coal corridors in line with DFCs to meet India’s surging power demand
The report emphasizes the necessity of establishing exclusive railway tracks for coal transportation along these routes. The report, focused on estimating coal transportation by rail until 2030, stresses the alignment of coal corridors with dedicated freight corridors (DFC).
Specifically, it recommends prioritizing the development of coal corridors with the east coast DFC and the eastern section of the east-west DFC. These corridors would facilitate the movement of coal, particularly from Talacher to ports along the eastern coastline. Estimates indicate that India’s energy requirements will surge to approximately 3,000 billion units (BU) annually by 2030.
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With an anticipated population of 1.51 billion in 2030, per capita energy consumption in India is expected to hover around 2,000 units annually. The study underscores the potential repercussions of any energy shortfall, which could severely hamper the nation’s growth, leading to shortages or outages across various sectors, including manufacturing, agriculture, and transport.
Furthermore, the study anticipates a significant increase in India’s coal consumption, projected to reach 1,853 million tonnes (mt) by 2030. This projection accounts for the nation’s robust economic growth rate and the per capita energy consumption expected in 2030. Notably, this revised estimate surpasses the figures outlined in the National Rail Plan, which had initially pegged coal consumption at 1,547 mt.
To address this surging demand, the Railway Board’s traffic, transportation, and business research unit have identified and listed 615 priority projects in a previous report. These projects encompass 132 super-critical-I projects, slated for completion in fiscal year 2024-25, 184 super-critical-II projects, with a target completion date in fiscal year 2026-27, and 299 critical projects, scheduled for completion in fiscal year 2027-28.