However, cyclone Phailin dampened hopes of local residents and ruined the railway’s plan for a trial run between newly built Hazaribagh station and Koderma, further delaying the project.
East Central Railway was all set to flag off an engine on November 1 for the first time on a 79km-long track between the two stations that is part of the ambitious 200km Ranchi-Koderma link via Hazaribagh.
For the last 15 days or so, railway labourers had been toiling round the clock to complete work on a 5km stretch between Hazaribagh and Kandsar (part of Hazaribagh-Koderma link).
But, the cyclone that hit the eastern coastline on October 12 and the resultant downpour has brought the work to a standstill.
According to sources, around 1100 metre of railway tracks between Hazaribagh and Kandsar are under 3-4ft water.
Machinery has been flooded in some places, while approach routes to construction sites have been damaged. Sources said it would take a couple weeks more to wrap up the remaining work.
Deputy general manager (East Central Railway) A.K. Singh admitted that labourers were facing problems due to inundation of under construction tracks in some places.
“The district has been receiving light to medium rain since September 30. Yet, the situation was under control. But, Phailin spoiled all our plans,” he said.
“The way work was going on, had the cyclone not disturbed it, we would have gone ahead with the trial run on November 1,” he added.
Singh, however, promised to finish the work and ensure that the trail run was done sometime in December.
A rail link was a long-pending demand of the citizens of Hazaribagh. But, since Independence, successive governments ignored the local people’s wish.
Ultimately, the Ranchi-Koderma rail link was mooted in 1999 when Hazaribagh MP Yashwant Sinha was Union finance minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government.
Sinha, who represents Hazaribagh parliamentary constituency, had brought Vajpayee to Koderma for the foundation laying ceremony of the project.
Initially, 2007 was set as the deadline for the project. Not only did it miss the deadline, project costs shot up to Rs 3,000 crore from the original Rs 700 crore.
While the Koderma-Hazaribagh stretch is near completion, the Hazaribagh-Ranchi link will only be ready by the end of 2014.