Coal and Mining Sector

FMC Projects to push coal out of mines quicker


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: FMC Projects for Coal

Mains level: Read the attached story


The coal ministry has announced several first-mile connectivity (FMC) projects, in line with the government’s coal logistics policy.

What is first-mile connectivity in coal?

  • FMC refers to transportation of coal from pitheads to dispatch points from where it would be transported to consumers.
  • Under FMC, coal producers adopt alternate transport methods—such as mechanized conveyor systems and computerized loading on to railway rakes—to replace road transport.
  • FMC projects reduce manual intervention and loading time.
  • It also quickens the evacuation process or the movement of coal from pitheads.

What does the coal logistics policy say?

According to the draft, the policy is aimed at developing a “technologically enabled, integrated, cost-efficient, resilient, sustainable and trusted logistics ecosystem in the country for accelerated and inclusive growth”.

  • Optimal infrastructure: In other words, it aims to create an optimal infrastructure for coal transportation at the origin and destination points for quicker transport.
  • Integrated evacuation: It also seeks to develop an eco-friendly, multi-modal integrated national coal evacuation infrastructure.
  • Dedicated corridors: The other goal is to establish smart coal logistics corridors to ensure complete oversight from the mine to the consumption point.

Why is the government emphasizing on FMC?

There are several missing links in the coal supply chain, which would now be plugged through planned projects.

  • FMC is part of the government’s plans to achieve energy security and end import dependence.
  • FMC would also lower carbon emissions since it reduces dependence on road transport for evacuation of coal.

Economic significance of FMCs

  • Artificial shortages: Last year, India witnessed a power crisis due to a shortage of coal.
  • Low availability of railway rakes: Along with the scarcity of domestic coal, the low availability of railway rakes added to the crisis. Post that, the government made efforts to boost the availability of rakes.
  • Logistics boost: Noting that power demand is set to increase with growing economic activity, a robust logistics ecosystem for coal has become imperative.
  • Last-mile energy connectivity: In addition to first mile connectivity, India is keen to strengthen the last mile as well.

Progress till date

  • Under the draft policy, setting up FMC would be made part of the mine allocation process. So, more such projects are set to come up.
  • The coal ministry has taken up additional 19 FMC projects for Coal India and Singareni Collieries with a capacity of 330 million tonne per annum (MTPA).
  • These projects will be implemented by FY27.


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