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Rail freight corridors to get more money in Budget 2013

February 20, 2013 12:26 IST

With work on the railways’ dedicated freight corridors set to pick up, the government is likely to increase budgetary allocation to the project in 2012-13.

A good portion of the enhanced government support for the railways would be for these corridors, meant for only goods trains. Work on one stretch of the eastern corridor has begun. And, Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation (DFCC), an Indian Railways (IR) company, recently awarded a Rs 3,300-crore (Rs 33 billion) contract to Tata-Aldesa for a 343-km double-track between Kanpur and Khurja in the same corridor.

IR is already working on a 66-km stretch of the New Karwandiya-Durgawati section of the Sonnagar-Mughalsarai stretch (122 km) of the eastern corridor. It is to be commissioned by December, said a senior DFCC official

The World Bank approved $975 million (Rs 5,270 crore) for the first phase of DFCC in 2011, a design-build contract with the work to be done within four years. Part of this funding would be routed through the Budget this time, a person in the know told Business Standard. The railways are likely to get around Rs 8,000-10,000 crore (Rs 80-100 billion) more in government support from last year’s Rs 24,000 crore (Rs 240 billion), though it had sought as much as Rs 45,000 crore (Rs 450 billion).

According to a senior DFCC official, "For the western corridor, two Japanese consortiums, Sojitz Corporation-L&T and Mitsui-IRCON Leighton, have already made financial bids for the Rewari-Palanpur section." DFCC has committed funding from the Japanese International Cooperation Agency from this and the stretch from Navi Mumbai to Vadodara. The proposed funding is under a special terms of economic participation agreement between the two countries. The value of the proposed loan is ¥295 billion (Rs 17,000 crore), a soft loan with a repayment period of 40 years.

With the pushing for more and more passenger trains on the existing tracks every year, the DFC is a key infrastructure project for IR. A little over 80 per cent of the land acquisition for both the western and eastern corridors has been done. Eighty per cent of the entire alignment of the eastern corridor is parallel to the existing track. It detours to skirt busy towns/cities and other inhabited areas, wildlife sanctuaries and forest areas. The major detour alignment on the eastern corridor is at the Gurpa Gujandi Ghat Section, Gaya, Allahabad, Kanpur, Aligarh, Meerut and Tundla.

For the 20 per cent detour, the land requirement is 10,000 hectares. From June 2010 to May 2011, an alignment of 300 km was reconsidered and 80-90 per cent of this stretch was brought parallel to the existing track. That brought down the detour from around 30 per cent to 20 per cent of the alignment.

The DFC is meant to sustain 1.5 km of train length and a 100 kmph speed with a load of 15,000 tonnes. As against the norm of a 22.5-tonne axle load on the existing network, that on DFCC will be 32.5 or 25 tonnes, comparable to the standards in America, Russia and China.

IR’s quadrilateral of a DFC would link Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Howrah (Kolkata), and its two diagonals (Delhi-Chennai and Mumbai-Howrah), adding a route length of 10,122 km. This stretch carries 55 per cent of revenue earning freight traffic. The existing trunk routes of Howrah-Delhi on the east and Mumbai-Delhi on the west are saturated, with line capacity utilisation between 115 per cent and 150 per cent.ew rules say.

Photograph: Parth Sanyal/Reuters

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BS Reporter in New Delhi