| A railway goods shed at Barmasia crossing in Dhanbad. (Gautam Dey)
Dhanbad, May 9: Small businessmen will no longer have to solely depend on road transport to ferry coal from one place to another. Instead, they can use the cheaper railway racks now that the Dhanbad division of East Central Railway has decided to open new goods sheds to help in coal transportation.
The new goods sheds will come up at McCluskieganj near Renukoot and at Rajaura near Daltonganj in addition to the three existing ones at Dhanbad Barkakana, Mahadia and Salaivanwa and Kuju near Ranchi. While coal transportation is being carried out from the Barkakana shed for the past three years, the Kuju facility, along with Mahadia and Salaiwanwa, became functional two-three months ago.
Notably, a large amount of coal is transported by PSUs like Bharat Coking Coal Limited and Central Coalfields Limited besides other companies like Tata Steel through their own railway sidings that are used for loading of rail wagons. Small businessmen, on the other hand, cannot transfer goods through the racks comprising wagons, as they cant use the railway sidings of a particular company.
This is because railway sidings are owned by particular companies and are meant for their exclusive use while goods shed are owned by the railways and can be used by different companies and even individuals, explained additional divisional railway manager (ADRM), Dhanbad, Rajesh Mohan.
He added that the sidings might be developed by the railways for the companies against charges or by owners of respective firms near their coal production sites. The companies can build the rail sidings with help from agencies like RITES. The tracks are also maintained by the companies, said Mohan, adding the railways, in turn, provides racks for coal loading and transportation at the respective sidings.
As for the good sheds, its a cheaper mode of transport and small companies will benefit the most as they can now easily ferry rejected coal, Mohan added.
While a railway riding requires loading and unloading of minimum one rack comprising at least 59 wagons, a mini rack, which has 29 wagons, can be loaded at a goods shed. However, according to a railway board policy, the transportation distance for a mini rack cannot exceed 300km.
Coal transportation forms a significant share of the total freight figure of Dhanbad division. Out of 91.30 million tonne of freight loading in 2011-12, coal loading alone comprised 86.062 million tonne.