CRB on a four day visit to Japan, meets JICA Fund Managers to expedite DFC project

New Delhi: To expedite the construction of the dedicated freight corridor (DFC), Railways has undertaken steps to resolve issues involving bidding process in the Western wing of the project. The project is funded by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the Japanese government arm for providing technical and financial aid to developing countries and also DMRC’s lending agency. There were certain issues involving the bidding for the 322-km-long Iqbalgarh-Vadodara route in the Western DFC which were discussed with JICA to expedite the project, Railway Board chairman Arunendra Kumar said.

Kumar had gone on a four-day visit to Japan to discuss modalities of JICA funding and other issues involved with the DFC project. Our aim is to maintain the tempo on the DFC and efforts are on to meet the target deadline, he said. The Western DFC from Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust to Dadri covering a length of about 1,500 km is being funded by JICA, which has pledged a special terms for economic partnership loan of 677 billion yen for the entire corridor. According to loan conditionalities, the lead partner for any contract has to be from Japan and there will be a consortium with Indian companies to execute the job.

Though Rs.6,700-crore contract for construction of 640-km twin-track line between Rewari and Palanpur of Western DFC was awarded to L&T-Sojitz, a joint venture comprising L&T of India and Sojitz Corporation of Japan, the bidding process hit roadblocks in the Iqbalgarh-Vododara section. The submission date of financial bids for the route has been extended thrice since July and it has to be submitted by 30 September. “However, it seems there will be a fourth extension up to 30 October as Japanese companies are seeking more time. But this will be the last extension,” said a senior railway ministry official involved with the project.

While the Western DFC is expected to be completed by December 2017, the target for the Eastern DFC is March 2018. “Railways will buy 200 electric locomotives of 9000 horse power each from Japan for the DFC. The high-power locomotives will be bought from Japan as it is part of the loan agreement,” said Kumar. He said the construction of DFC is crucial for Railways as it will move the freight traffic on faster pace which will help industry. “It will also help in decongesting the existing track as total freight traffic will be shifted to the DFC leaving more space for passenger trains,” Kumar said.