Livelihood of Odisha truck owners hit as MCL takes rail route to ship coal
By Express News Service | Published: 04th August 2017 09:11 AM |
JHARSUGUDA:The decision of Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL) management to increase coal transport by rail has put the livelihood of thousands of truck owners in the Ib Valley here under jeopardy.
The MCL authorities are transporting more quantity of coal by rail which has impacted the business of road transporters and truck owners. A significant chunk of the region’s populace depends on road transport business.
Earlier, around 700 trucks were transporting coal by road on a daily basis. But now, the number has come down to 200 only. Sources said the daily production of coal in Ib Valley area is 40,000 tonnes. While 34,000 tonnes is transported via rail, the rest is delivered by road.
MCL has set a daily limit of 12 racks of coal for rail transportation and the balance by road. “The management is only concerned about production without giving any thought to the livelihood of truck owners of the region,” said Brajrajnagar Truck Owners’ Association president Amiya Samal.
Echoing similar sentiments, Brajrajnagar Coal Movers’ Association president Ajit Dhal said that due to this decision of MCL, transport of coal by road has come down by around 20,000 to 30,000 tonnes.
Moreover, the transporters are appointed after coal is taken through auction by major industries like Vedanta, Bhusan and Aditya Birla. And if the road transporters are unable to lift the materials in time, a penalty of `200 per tonne is imposed. With production of coal taking a hit during the rainy season, the transporters are failing to meet the deadline and thereby, forced to pay the fine for no fault of theirs. In the process, truck owners of Brajrajnagar, Belpahar and Bandhbahal are incurring heavy losses.
Sources said such is the situation that many trucker owners are unable to pay the bank loans they had availed to purchase their vehicles. Adding to the woes, the economy of the district has also taken a beating after closure of industrial houses like Orient Paper Mill and BTM. Resenting the decision of MCL authorities, the truck owners and transporters have jointly decided to launch a protest in the coming days.
Contacted, general manager of Ib Valley Area of MCL Madhusudan Sharma said, “Even during the rainy season, we are delivering 5,000 to 6,000 tonnes of coal by road on a daily basis. Ib Valley will not be able to provide more coal than this quantity for road transportation.’’
Sharma further said he has requested MCL Headquarters that as Ib Valley needs to provide 11 to 12 racks of coal to various power projects on a daily basis, Vasundhara and Lakhanpur Area of MCL should be directed to provide coal for road transport.