Government orders gencos to buy rakes to ease coal supply during monsoon

The government has directed power generation companies (gencos) to buy rakes for captive use, a move which will ensure smooth supplies of coal during the monsoon season. Each year, during the monsoon season, production of domestic coal also falls, Power Minister R K Singh has said. 

When asked if the government was making rake arrangements anticipating production and supply issues during the approaching rainy season, he replied in the affirmative. “That (rakes) is another problem,” Mr Singh said on Sunday, adding that the Coal Ministry had been saying that there were locations where there was dry fuel, but transportation was not happening to the extent of availability. 

He cited the shortage of rakes besides congestion on some routes as the main reasons for this problem. There were actions which the Indian Railways needed to take to reduce the congestion on those lines so that more coal could be evacuated from those places. In some areas, the Coal Ministry would have to up the production where enough rakes are available, the minister added. 

Without sharing any details, he further said: “The Indian Railways is buying more rakes. I have also asked the gencos to invest in rakes. 

“You can own rakes, and you save on transport cost and that pays for itself in about 9-10 years, and the rake itself runs for about 25-30 years. NTPC already owns rakes, they are going to increase their rakes. I have asked all State gencos to own rakes to reduce load on railways,” the minister said, adding that the government was gearing up to increase the stock of coal at power plants to 40 million tonnes (mt) during the monsoon season. At present, there are reserves of around 22.9mt at the power plants.

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