Singrauli – Home to Thermal Power Plants

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Mining in Singrauli Coal Mines

Singrauli is the energy capital of India. The area has one billion tonnes of coal reserves. Consequently huge thermal power plants have sprung up here. Coal mining is the major income earner.

It is fast emerging as the power hub of India, especially for electrical power and coal. Therefore locally it is also known as Urjanchal (a Hindi word meaning land of energy).

Location of Singrauli

The town is on the border between Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. The nearest airport is Varanasi (195 km) which is across the border in Uttar Pradesh. The journey on State Highway SH5A takes close to five hours.

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River Ganga at Varanasi

An Inter City Express connects Varanasi and Singrauli. It departs Varanasi station at 14:24 hours and arrives at the destination at 20:50 hours. A ticket in  ac chair car costs Rs. 335. Direct trains run from Singrauli to Jabalpur, Katni, Kota, Guna, Allahabad, Lucknow, Gaya and Jhansi.

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Tea Vendor at Roadside

I have travelled at night on Singrauli – Ambikapur road in Chattisgarh. It passes through thickly forested areas. The road was in very poor condition. Avoid night travel on the route because Naxalite insurgents have a strong presence in the region.

Coal Mining Equipment

I came across this truck on a coal mine. The mining truck has a payload capacity of 360 tonnes. The truck consumes fuel in large quantities: an average of 65 gallons per hour. with a fuel economy of 0.3 mpg. With such huge costs, the truck is usually functions round the clock, with stoppages only for scheduled maintenance.

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Huge Truck in Singrauli Coal Field

This is the walking drag line excavator I saw in one of the mines. There are several coal mines nearby that are active. The mines are highly mechanised.

A ‘walking drag line’ is an excavator where the bucket is dragged by cables, rather than lifted by an arm. This permits the bucket to be much larger than those on shovels. Drag lines, because of their huge size, cannot move with wheels or bulldozer tracks. They stir using hydraulically operated ‘feet’, which raise and lower, one at a time. That is why they are called ‘walking‘ drag lines.

History of Singrauli

In 1962, the government inaugurated a dam across River Rihand which flows in close vicinity. Later rich coal deposits spread over an area of 2200 sq km were discovered around the reservoir of the dam. As a result, coal mines and thermal power stations came up in Singrauli.

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Balram Excavator in Singrauli

In May 2008, Singrauli became the 50th district of Madhya Pradesh. In recent times, the area has developed as an important centre of mining and industry.

Industries in India’s Energy Capital

Northern Coalfields (NCL) operates 13 coal mines in Singrauli. NCL is a part of Coal India which is the largest producer of coal in the world.

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Rihand River

Singrauli has seven thermal power plants. The biggest of them is Vindhyachal Thermal Power Station which has an installed capacity of 4,760 megawatts. It is the largest power station in India

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Excavator at Work

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