Big boost for Indian Railways! PM Narendra Modi-led Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has today approved multi-crore projects worth Rs 11661.02 crore in total! This involves several doubling with electrification projects for Indian Railways. Electrification is a pet project of the Piyush Goyal-led Indian Railways and today’s decisions come as a big boost for it. Not just doubling and electrification, new railway line projects have also got approval. The new projects will herald good news for passengers as the crucial lines will reduce congestion on the existing network and thus enable better punctuality of trains. There was buzz that the Cabinet would also discuss the possibility of leasing out for 99 years railway stations to private players. However, no decision in that regard was announced. We take a look at all that was announced for Indian Railways after today’s Cabinet briefing:
Muzaffarpur-Sagauli & Sagauli-Valmiki Nagar lines doubling: This doubling with electrification project will cost Rs 1347.61 crore and Rs 1381.49 crore respectively. The CCEA has approved the 100.6-km long Muzaffarpur-Sagauli and 109.7-km long Sagauli-Valmiki Nagar doubling project. According to Indian Railways, the project will cover areas of West Champaran (Bettiah), East Champaram (Motihari) and Muzaffarpur. The Muzaffarpur-Sagauli & Sagauli-Valmiki Nagar projects means employment of 24.14 lakh man-days and 26.33 lakh man-days. With additional lines, capacity augmentation will result in de-congestion and faster movement of trains – hence causing less delays.
Jhansi-Manikpur and Bhimsen-Khairar lines doubling with electrification projects: expected to be completed by 2022-2023, the project will cost around Rs 4955.72 crore. The 425-km long lines will improve punctuality of trains and provide better safety. Khajuraho, an international tourist destination, is expected to benefit greatly from this. This will also be an important feeder route for the Dedicated Fright Corridor. The project will generate employment of 102 lakh man-days and the project will cover districts of Chhatarpur, Jhansi, Chitrakut Dham, Mahoba, Banda in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. The project will improve punctuality of passenger trains on Jhansi-Satna and Kanpur-Satna routes.
Bhatni-Aurnihar line doubling with electrification project: Expected to cost Rs 1300.09 crore, this project is aimed to be completed by 2021-2022. Covering districts of Ghazipur, Ballia, Mau and Deoria in Uttar Pradesh, this doubling and electrification project is expected to ensure higher speed of trains and reduce delays. The project will also enhance safety by ensuring more time for maintenance. Yet another benefit will be the additional capacity for future increase in traffic.
This assumes significance especially given FM Arun Jaitley’s announcement in Budget 2018 that in FY19 Indian railways will focus on capacity augmentation. This project will also help shift traffic from Mughalsarai-Allahabad route and is especially expected to benefit passengers going to North-East, West Bengal and Bihar. The increased connectivity will also help Varanasi boost pilgrimage. Fule import dependence is also expected to come down, leading to cost savings and reduction in carbon emissions. The employment potential of the project is seen at 28.07 lakh man-days.
130-km long Jeypore-Malkangiri new line project: This project is expected to cost around Rs 2676.11 crore and will be completed by 2021-2022. Covering districts of Malkangiri and Koraput in Odisha, the project will help ensure overall industrial development. The project is likely to generate employment of 31.2 lakh man-days and will ensure better connectivity to Dantewara, Jagdalpur, Jeypore and Koraput. CCEA is hopeful the new line project will also help combat left wing extremism with development of Koraput and Malkangiri.
Co-operation agreement between India and Morocco to develop long-term cooperation and partnership in railways sector: Co-operation agreement between India and Morocco to develop long-term cooperation and partnership in railways sector: This agreement was signed on December 14, 2017 and entails technical cooperation is areas such as; mutual technical assistance, including exchange of experts; training and staff development and expert missions that will also involve exchange of personnel and experience.