Indian Railways has also given the green signal to EDFC, allowing the running of private freight trains on its corridors if companies come forward with such propositions.
Dedicated Freight Corridor Project: World Bank to fund section of Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor? The World Bank has recently offered to give financial assistance for the last remaining portion of the EDFC between Sonnagar in Bihar and Dankuni in West Bengal, which Indian Railways is originally slated to develop in the public-private partnership (PPP) model. Indian Railways has also given the green signal to EDFC, allowing the running of private freight trains on its corridors, if companies come forward with such propositions, according to an IE report. The DFC project is being executed by the Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India (DFCCIL).
The interest of the World Bank in funding the EDFC’s 528 km long stretch between Sonnagar and Dankuni has now presented the national transporter with two options. One is Indian Railways to do a course correction and take financial assistance in the form of viability gap funding. The other option for Indian Railways is to carry on as planned and invite players to bring in the capital. According to the report, the entire EDFC is being developed with loan from World Bank, except the stretch between Bihar and West Bengal. The documents of the project, detailing the PPP model for the section have gone to the PPP Appraisal Committee (PPPAC) of the Finance Ministry.
Anurag Sachan, Managing Director, DFCCIL was quoted in the report saying that the World Bank has offered to the corporation, because the project is very viable. But documents have been sent to the PPPAC as well. The DFCCIL will take a call, he said. The corporation will be floating request for qualification for interested private players to come forward. Now, they also have a choice of going for assistance from World Bank as well, he said. There has been an indication from private players that financial closure of something like Rs 9,000 crore for a stretch like Sonnagar-Gomoh, on their own might be tough, he added.
According to Atul Agarwal, Senior Transport Specialist, World Bank, this was a way for the bank to facilitate private players in the DFC project. It is a good effort and the World Bank would be willing to help in whatever way it can, he added.