CCEA sanctions two Rail projects to speed up Coal handling at Paradip & Vizag Ports

The new railway projects approved will decongest freight traffic and help in transportation of coal
The new railway projects approved will decongest freight traffic and help in transportation of coal

New Delhi: The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on Wednesday approved four railway projects at a combined cost of Rs.8,351.3 crore which will facilitate freight movement in the two most significant mineral-bearing States of eastern region, including Odisha and Chhattishgarh.

The CCEA, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi, gave a go-ahead to three double-lining projects besides approval for two additional lines between Budhapank (Angul) and Salegaon (Cuttack). All the projects are targeted to be completed during the 12th and 13th Plan periods. The 85-km-long third and fourth lines between Budhapank and Salegaon via Rajathgarh have been estimated at Rs.1,172.92 crore. It currently caters to coal transportation from Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd to Paradip and Visakhapatnam ports apart from providing siding for power plants and other coal-based industries and the additional lines are expected to ease freight traffic and boost railways revenue. The double lining is projected to be complete in three years.

The CCEA also gave its nod for doubling of Kottavalasa-Koraput line measuring 189.278 km at an estimated Rs.2,977.64 crore. Beside improving rail connectivity between Koraput and Vizianagaram as well as Visakhaphatnam, the double-line will also help goods traffic movement in the region.

Similarly, the proposal for doubling of the 164.56-km-long Koraput-Singapur Road section was also approved by the CCEA. This project, at a cost of Rs.2,361.74 crore, is targeted to be completed in seven years. The Cabinet Committee has also approved doubling of the Jagdalpur-Koraput section. The Rs.1,839 crore project, which will cover 110.22 km, is planned to be completed in seven years. East Coast Railway (ECoR) sources said doubling of the lines will facilitate increasing freight traffic.

Though the approvals may have come as good news, the four projects will pose a serious challenge to both the State Government and ECoR as land acquisition will be the key. Several railway projects in the State have hit roadblocks because of an inordinate delay in acquiring land.

The CCEA has sanctioned two additional Railway lines in Odisha at a cost of INR 1172.92 crores to ensure free flow of coal from Mahanadi Coalfields to Paradip and Visakhapatnam Ports to improve the Coal supplies to thermal plants in the East coast, according to an official release.

Both the Ports handle coal in a big way to feed the thermal plants in four southern states besides West Bengal.

The Government has already taken steps to improve the coal handling facilities at the Paradip Port the emerging energy hub port in the east coast.

The CCEA gave its approval for third and fourth railway line between Budhpank and Salegaon via Rajathgarh railway line of 85 kilometers each.

The existing railway lines between Budhapank junction and Salegaon is catering to the original traffic from Mahanadi coal fields to Paradip and Visakhapatnam Ports and the siding traffic originating from and to the several power plants and coal based industries.

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