Govt plans coal transportation in covered trucks, rail wagons
Scurrying for solutions to fight the toxic air pollution, the government has said it plans to transport coal in covered rail wagons and trucks across the country. Ferrying of coal in uncovered vehicles and rail wagons is said to be one of the key reasons behind high pollution levels along the transportation route from coal mine or importing sea port to user plants like power generation houses.
“We are looking at better and more environment friendly transportation of coal. I have ordered that we will design a covering over every truck and railway wagon that transports coal across the length and breadth of the country,” Coal and Railway Minister Piyush Goyal told here.
For the third straight year, in the month of November, thick toxic smog enveloped the national capital region (NCR), leading to what has been called a health emergency. Coal-fired power plants are said to be one of the sources of pollution.
India generates about 65 per cent of its electricity using coal as fuel. It is abundantly available in the country and is cheaper than alternate fuel sources like natural gas and liquid hydrocarbons.
Goyal said the government is consistently working to see how the impact of coal-based power plants on environment is reduced. While power plants follow stringent standards, newer equipments like Flue-gas desulphurisation (FGD), which removes sulphur dioxide, will take time to be installed, he said. But, to begin with, transporting coal in covered wagons and trucks is being done, he said. Goyal said he had only last week ordered the designing of cover for trucks and rail wagons.
“We will need to give it some time to procure and implement as thousands and thousands of trucks and railway wagons are used for this purpose,” he said without giving a time-frame or cost involved.
Rail wagons and trucks ferry coal from mines in states like Chattisgarh and Jharkhand in eastern India, or ports like Mormugao in Goa on the west to consumption centres, polluting the areas en route.