Konkan Railway deadline extended again
Sandesh Prabhudesai in Panaji
After announcing several deadlines in the past to commission the
country's longest railway line - the 760-km Konkan Railway - government
officials now admit that it could be again delayed up to monsoons.
Federal Railway Minister Ram Vilas Paswan made this clear after
personally visiting the problematic tunnels of Pernem and Old
The German technology adopted recently to dig into the soft soil
may achieve results in bringing the deadline to May-end, he said.
The work seems to be progressing at snail's pace, at the rate
of two metres per day at Pernem tunnel with around 350 metres
of digging still pending, while only 100 metres of the stretch
is giving little more trouble at Old Goa at the rate of less than
a metre of digging every day.
According to Paswan, only a technical problem of digging through
these two tunnels in Goa remains to be the prime cause of delay.
"We initially lost one and a half year due to the realignment
controversy in Goa and the financial crunch, both non-existent
now," he said.
Paswan, however, admits that the cost escalation would cross the
figure of Rs 30 billion due to the delay, which includes around
Rs 180 million of financing cost every month. The total financing
cost has crossed Rs 6.5 billion including short-term loans of
Rs 4 billion.
Paswan has, however, announced that the remaining stretch from
Ratnagiri to Sawantwadi in Maharashtra would be commissioned by
the month's end. It is at present awaiting a clearance from commissioner
of railway safety.