Convergence of DFC and other vital Projects at Panvel gives Railways the jitters

पनवेल Panvel (PNVL):  A pet project of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has become a bone of contention for the railway authorities. The Western Corridor of the Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) passes through Panvel and then proceeds towards Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT). The other schemes some of which were announced in previous budgets will also be in and around Panvel station. The DFC corridor which is being developed to provide a special network for cargo trains, will pass through Panvel where several other multi-crore projects also converging with each other – these include the planned CST-Panvel fast corridor, upcoming Airport at Navi Mumbai, Suburban Sections on the Virar-Vasai-Diva-Panvel line and finally, construction of the Panvel Coaching complex which is meant for carrying out maintenance work of trains and other amenities.

Sources in railways said that they are worried about a multitude of schemes clashing with each other.

A Central Railway official said that “The alignment of DFC is close to the planned suburban fast corridor and the coaching complex. So, we will require additional land from CIDCO, for which discussions with them are underway.”

The DFC is being carved out as a network for container and cargo trains so they can transport goods and commodities faster, without any passenger trains coming in their way (see box for details).

Officials explained that the existing railway station at Panvel would be expanded for the purpose of adding more platforms for the proposed CST-Panvel fast corridor and Virar-Vasai-Diva-Panvel lines. Apart from this, connectivity is also planned for the proposed airport coming in Navi Mumbai.

Amidst all this, they will require extra land for DFC. “We will need nearly 36 hectares of land from CIDCO and several others from other agencies and private parties,” said an official from Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Limited (DFCCIL), a subsidiary railway body created to look into the nitty-gritty of the project. As of May, they had acquired 442 hectares of land, that too only in Maharashtra.

A senior official from CIDCO said that “We are examining the various projects proposed by the railways. The meeting regarding the coaching complex also went well and land will be allotted accordingly.”

Meanwhile, Central Railway has given an in-principle nod for four new platforms at the Panvel suburban section, which will be used for Panvel-Virar and Panvel-Karjat routes.

Authorities will convert the current suburban platform numbers 3 and 4 into the DFC, and build four additional platforms for running trains to Virar and Karjat. It is likely that in the rail budget that will be presented today, the DFC will be allocated certain amounts of money.

Western Freight Corridor faces logjam due to other major projects near Delhi too

The western dedicated freight corridor (DFC), from Dadri near Delhi to Jawaharlal Nehru (JN) Port, reportedly faces a logjam due to several other major projects such as the proposed CST-Panvel fast corridor, the planned Navi Mumbai international airport, suburban sections on the Virar-Vasai-Diva-Panvel line and the construction of the Panvel Coaching Complex.

The western DFC, among the two that are being built, the other being the eastern one from Ludhiana in Punjab to Dankuni in West Bengal, will pass through Panvel. It proposes to transport containers, commodities at a maximum speed of 100 kmph, which will considerably reduce haulage time.

The alignment of the western DFC close to the proposed CST-Panvel fast corridor and the Panvel Coaching Complex would be an impediment. The existing railway station at Panvel would be expanded and more platforms added for the proposed CST-Panvel fast corridor and the Virar-Vasai-Diva-Panvel lines, according to sources.

The Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Limited (DFCCIL), the state-run corporation entrusted to undertake planning/development, mobilization of financial resources and construction, maintenance and operation of the DFC, may need around 36 hectares of land from CIDCO, for which discussions are reportedly ongoing.

Gurgaon DM bans excavation on freight corridor land

In order to stop illegal excavation on land allotted to the Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India (DFCC), Gurgaon District Magistrate Shekhar Vidyarthi ordered that JCBs and other excavating machines will not be admitted, parked or used along the DFCC alignment.

Excavation will not be permitted in villages under the district’s jurisdiction like Sohna, Raipur, Lakhuwas, Silani, Sancholi, Karanki, Khuntpuri and Ratikanaubad (Badkhera) villages, which are along the DFCC alignment, the DM said. These villages come under Tehsil Sohna of Gurgaon district and the orders were passed under Section 144 of CrPC.

DFCC was created by the Central Government, in order to lay a double-line railway track from Mumbai to Dadri, exclusively to operate double container freight traffic. This project is being undertaken by the Railways. The land required for construction of this line is being acquired through The Railway (Amendment ) Act 2008. As per the Act, once 20 E notification is issued by officials (which  deals with ‘land acquisition for a special railway project’) the land will belong to the Railways.