It will award tenders for the first 1,000 km of the 3,300-km project in the current financial year. The change of guard in the rail ministry has set the ball rolling on a host of pending projects, with DFC getting the priority from the new minister Pawan Bansal.
Bansal, who joined office on Monday, had told reporters that work on DFC needs to be expedited. After six years of inception, Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India (DFCCIL) will be awarding its first project to private players for the construction of the corridor.
Around 80% of the land required for the project has been acquired. Tenders for laying of the first 1,000 km of tracks (worth around R10,000 crore) would be awarded in this financial year. The deadline for the project is 2016-17, said a senior railway officer.
Japanese, Chinese and Malaysian infrastructure companies will be bidding for the project, the officer added.
In the first phase, DFCCIL will be constructing two corridors the Western DFC and Eastern DFC spanning a total length of about 3,300 km.
The Eastern Corridor, starting from Ludhiana in Punjab, will pass through the states of Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and terminate at Dankuni in West Bengal. The Western Corridor will traverse the distance from Dadri to Mumbai, passing through the states of Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra.
Around 343 km of rail track will be laid in the eastern corridor between Khurja and Kanpur and 640 km will be laid in the western corridor between Rewari and Palampur, the officer said. The work on two lines should have started by 2009 but it got delayed by over two years. The Western corridor is being funded by the Government of Japan and the Eastern is being funded through a World Bank loan.
Meanwhile, to make sure that work on other lines in DFC's Phase one gets completed on time, Indian Railways will be utilising track-laying machines that would put in place 1 km of railway lines each day. The machine, being offered by a US company, would be first used for laying tracks on the 66-km New Kawadia-Durgapur section of the eastern freight corridor, which would be inaugurated next year.