Bids for 1,483-km freight corridor project by May

NEW DELHI: The railway ministry will invite bids for the first phase of the 1,483-km western freight corridor by May, according to a top official of the railway subsidiary that is executing the project. The move is part of a strategy to de-congest freight lines and accommodate the growing industrial traffic.

The 640-km project-part of the 920 km Rewari-Vadodara stretch-is awaiting approval from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), which is funding the project, to begin financial bidding.

It will be the second project along the 3,322-km Dedicated Freight Corridor to be put on the block. In January, the government had awarded the first project-343-km of the 1,839-km Eastern Corridor-to Tata-Aldesa JV. Preparatory work on this Rs 3,300 crore Kanpur-Khurja section is likely to be completed by June.

The Dedicated Freight Corridor Project, being implemented by the railways through the Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Ltd (DFCCIL), aims to connect the important freight lanes between Delhi and Mumbai in the west and Ludhiana and Dankuni in the east.

The 640-km project on the Western Corridor is likely to go to either the consortium between Japan’s Sojitz Corp and Larsen & Toubro or Mitsui, Ircon and Leighton.

The government plans to invite bids for about 1,500 km of freight corridor lines by the end of this fiscal, most of which will be in the western corridor. “Of the 1,500 km, 950-1,000 km will be from the western corridor while 400 km will be from the eastern corridor,” DFCCIL’s MD, RK Gupta, told ET.

According to officials, these projects are likely to cost about 10 crore per km and can help reduce CO2 emission by 450 million tonne over the next 30 years. About 90% of the land required for the stretches has already been acquired by DFFCIL. “The remaining portions are in difficult places or require alignment changes. We should be able to complete this in six months,” Gupta said.