Rs 44,000 cr freight corridor in the works
The Indian Railways plans to invest Rs 44,000 crore to build a 1,100km greenfield freight corridor on the east coast connecting Kharagpur with Vijaywada.
The corridor, which is expected to carry about 200mt of freight per annum, is likely to be announced in the budget proposal for 2019-20. “There is very heavy traffic on this route. The work on the proposal is currently going on,” said Anurag Sachan, MD at Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation (DFCC). “We wll be proposing funding from multilateral agencies along with some equity from Indian Railways for the project.” The corridor will connect mineral rich areas of the country to industries in the south.
The construction work on the corridor will begin only after the DFCC delivers the 3,300km long eastern and western freight corridors. The two corridors, being constructed to connect the mainland with the ports on the western and the eastern coasts of the country, are expected to be fully completed by 2020.
The first phase of the project, India’s first mega railway project since Independence, being constructed at the cost of Rs 81,000 crore, is likely to be completed by year end.
The 1,500km long western freight corridor runs from Dadri near Delhi to JNPT in Mumbai while the 1,800km eastern corridor is from Ludhiana to Dankuni.
DFCC will be making 432km of the western corridor and 343km of the eastern corridor operational by the end of the financial year. Once open, the stretches on the western and the eastern corridors will significantly reduce the travel time between Delhi and Mumbai and Delhi and Howrah, the two most congested rail routes in the country. The construction of the western corridor is being fully funded by JICA, which has provided around Rs 33,000 crore as soft loan. The eastern corridor is being partially funded by the World Bank. Once operational, the corridors will increase the national transporter freight carrying capacity to over 2,000 million tonnes, up from the existing 1,200 million tonnes.