The government has directed the power generation companies (GENCOS) to buy rakes for captive usage, a move that will ensure smooth supplies of coal during the monsoon season.
Each year during the monsoon season, the production of domestic coal also falls, Power Minister R K Singh told PTI.
When asked if the government is making rake arrangements anticipating production and supply issues during the approaching rainy season, he replied in the affirmative.
"That (rakes) is another problem," Singh said adding the Coal Ministry has been saying that there are locations where there is dry fuel but transportation is 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 are actions that the Railways need to take to reduce the congestion on those lines so that more coal can be evacuated from these places. In some areas, the Coal Ministry will have to up the production where enough rakes are available, the Minister said.
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 the load on railways."
The Minister has also said that the government is 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 22.9 MT at the power plants.