Freight corridor on track, rolling stock chugs on

Written by fe Bureau | New Delhi, Feb 26 | Updated: Feb 27 2008, 04:45am hrs
The railway minister Lalu Prasad Yadav announced on Tuesday that work on the much-awaited dedicated freight corridors (DFC), eastern freight corridor from Ludhiana to Dankuni, Kolkata and western freight corridor from Delhi to JNPT would commence this year.

The project involves laying down parallel tracks on the golden quadrilateral route covering the four metros, for segregating passenger and freight trains. In the first phase, which is estimated to cost Rs 28,000 crore, the eastern corridor (Delhi-Kolkata) and the western corridor (Delhi-Mumbai) lines are to be laid. The project is to be funded by Japanese government loan.

The announcement for DFCs was made in 2005 and Japanese agency, JICA, prepared a feasibility report to facilitate funding of the project by Japanese government.

Lalu said detailed feasibility studies for the north-south, east-west, east-south and south-south DFC are underway and the government would take action to expedite sanction of construction work for the corridors during the next fiscal.

The ministry also plans to modernise the rolling stock for which 20,000 wagons would be manufactured in 2008-09, the maximum number of wagons ever produced. Furthermore, 250 diesel and 220 electric locomotives would be manufactured, a record in itself, Yadav said presenting the Railway Budget.

The Budget Estimate (BE) of Rs 4,040.40 crore for 2008-09 towards modernisation of the rolling stock is an increase of 16.12% over the BE figures of Rs 3479.24 crore for the purpose in 2007-08. The BE for 2008-09 is an increase of Rs 657.42 crore over the revised estimates of 2007-08.

Given the increasing trend of bulk movement of commodities like cement, fly ash, food grains and fertilisers, the railway minister said that a new policy would be announced for development of bulk handling terminals.

Under the policy, construction of bulk handling terminals for the above mentioned products would be permitted by the producers of these commodities or by their authorised agencies, he added.