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Sitharaman proposes 3 new dedicated freight corridors in Budget

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While presenting the Union Budget for 2021-22, the finance minister also announced the extension of the Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor by 538 km from Sonnagar to Dankuni, for which the Railways have acquired 93 per cent land for the Sonnagar-Gomoh and 86 per cent land for Gomoh-Dankuni section.

Sitharaman siud, “the following additional initiatives are also proposed. The Sonnagar-Gomoh section of 236 km on EDFC will be taken up in PPP mode this year itself. Gomoh-Dankuni section of 274.3 km will also be taken up shortly in short succession”.

She also said that the railways will take up the future dedicated freight corridor projects — East Coast Corridor from Kharagpur to Vijaywada, East-West Corridor from Bhusawal to Kharagpur to Dankuni and North-South Corridor from Itarsi to Vijaywada.

She said that the detailed project report (DPR) will be undertaken in the first phase.

Indian Railways last year started a detailed study on the nearly 4,000 km-long new dedicated freight corridors connecting industrial areas in the eastern and western parts of the country to major ports in Odisha and Andhra Pradesh, expected to be completed by this year.

According to the Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation India Linited (DFCCIL) officials, the proposed DFCs are part of the next big infrastructure projects of the national transporter.

The official said that last year the railways started the survey work for the three new corridors started which will be completed by 2021, while the construction of these new corridors is expected to be completed by 2030.

The new corridors are the 1,115-km East Coast corridor from West Bengal’s Kharagpur to Andhra Pradesh’s Vijayawada, the 1,673 km East-West corridor connecting Bhusawal-Nagpur-Kharagpur-Dankuni (near Kolkata), the 195-km Rajkharswan-Kalipahari-Andal (West Bengal) route, and the 975-km North South sub-corridor Vijayawada-Nagpur-Itarsi (Madhya Pradesh) route.

These corridors will provide connectivity to Paradeep, Dhamra, Gopalpur ports in Odisha and Vishakhapatnam, Gangavaram, Kakinada, Krishnapatnam and Machhalipatanam ports in Andhra Pradesh, ensuring faster movement of goods and capacity enhancement in the over-saturated sections of the railway network.

In a major boost to development of Odisha, the proposed Kharagpur-Vijayawada corridor will pass through the state’s Kalinagar Industrial area, connecting it with southern India.

The Kalinagar Industrial area will by then already be connected with the western part of the country through the Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor. The industrial area has ferrochrome and alloy industries, sponge iron plants, steel companies like Tata Steel, Neelachal Ispat Nigam Ltd, Mesco Ispat & Steel Ltd, Jindal Stainless Steel Ltd, Yazdani Steel and Power Ltd, Maitan Ispat, among others.

Similarly, Odisha’s Angul Industrial area, home to aluminium industries, thermal power plants, a heavy water plant, coal fields and iron and steel plants, will get an impetus with the new East-West corridor, connecting it to the western part of the country as well as the coal belts in the east.

The 3,373 km Eastern and Western DFCs, a flagship project of the railways, aims to augment rail transport capacity to meet the growing requirement of movement of goods by segregating freight from passenger traffic.

The WDFC runs from the Jawaharlal Nehru Port in Mumbai to Tughlakabad and Dadri near Delhi, and will cater largely to the container transport requirements between the existing and emerging ports in Maharashtra, Gujarat and the northern hinterland.

The 1,839 km EDFC runs from Punjab’s Ludhiana to Dankuni near Kolkata. It could be extended to serve the new deep-sea port, proposed in the Kolkata area, and will largely handle coal and steel traffic.

The DFCCIL plans to run freight trains on these dedicated corridors at 100 kmph against the current 75 kmph. It also plans to increase the average speed of the freight trains from 26 kmph to 70 kmph on them.

Comenting on the extension of the EDFC by 538 km, the official said that it is planned to develop Sonnagar-Dankuni double line electrified section in two phases on PPP mode.

The official said that the Sonnagar-Gomoh section of 264 Km will be built in the first phase and Gomoh- Dankuni section of 274 Km in second phase.

The official said that the estimate cost for the Sonnagar-Gomoh section is at Rs 8,000 crore while the estimated cost for the Gomoh-Dankuni section is Rs 6,500 crore.

The official said that concession period in the Sonnagar-Gomoh section, concession period is of 20 years, including five years construction period.

He said that approximately 93 per cent land has been acquired for the 263 km project and the PPP documents have been submitted to PPPAC for further approval.

The official said that the section will have single Stage two packet bidding. Highlighting the salient features of the Sonnagar-Gomoh section the official said that the 263 km route will have 580 bridges, seven rail flyovers, three tunnel, five viaducts, 50 road under bridges or road over bridges in lieu of level crossings.

He also said that the section will have two junction stations on the route at the New Gomoh and New Koderma both in Jharkhand, five crossing stations — New Keshwari, New Hirodih, New Kastha, New Paharpur and New Rafigunj.

Discussing the details of the 274.3 km long Gomoh-Dankuni section, the DFCCIL official said that it will have te concession period of 19 years, including five year construction period.

He said that approximately, 86 per cent land has been acquired for the project. He also said that the single stage two packet bidding system will be used.

The section will have 683 bridges, 10 rail flyovers, 94 road under bridges or road over bridges in lieu of level crossings.

The official said that the section will have four junction stations — New Dankuni, New Khana, New Andal and New Pradhankanta and three crossing stations at New Jaugram, New Mugma and New Rajbandh.

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