Doubling of Kirandul-Vishakhapatnam Rail Line in limbo for 40 years

VISAKHAPATNAM: The Kirandul (Chhattisgarh) to Vishakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh) railway line that passes through Odisha is one of the highest revenue generating rail routes in India.

Generating annual revenue of Rs 8,000 crore, the railway line covering a distance of 445 km, passes through the three states of Chhattisgarh, Odisha and AP, and yields an approximate profit of Rs 3,000 crore every year.

However, it is the lack of doubling of the line that is now a matter of concern. Doubling work has been in limbo for 40 years, thanks to the negligence of the railways.

The railway line’s construction began in 1960 and was completed in 1966. Twenty-four freight trains and two passenger trains ply on this route every day and another four passenger trains ply from Koraput to Jagdalpur.

The freight trains carry raw material from the Bailadila iron ore mines in Chhattisgarh to Vishakhapatnam.

Back in 2015, the Union Cabinet had sanctioned funds for doubling of the rail line. A sum of Rs 2,977.64 crore was supposed to be used for the doubling of the 189.2 km railway line from Kothavalasa (Andhra Pradesh) to Koraput, Rs 1839.02 crore for the 110.22 km from Koraput to Jagdalpur and Rs 291.64 crore for the 145 km from Jagdalpur to Kirandul.

Eight main, 34 medium and 151 small bridges had to be constructed between Koraput and Jagdalpur. But there is no progress in doubling of the tracks.

Although the government had planned to complete the expansion in seven months, there are speculations that the work may not be completed in the stipulated time.

Work is now in full swing for another railway line from Chhattisgarh to Jeypore. This is hampering the expansion work. The authorities are not able to resume doubling work from Koraput to Andhra Pradesh border.

Moreover, the doubling work going on between Jeypore and Koraput is moving at a snail’s pace. If the railway line is doubled it would increase capacity on the Jagdalpur-Jeypore-Koraput-Vishakhapatnam route.

More trains would be able to ply and connect more towns. It would benefit passengers and help in generating more revenue, apart from providing a source of income for tribals residing in villages along the railway line.

The engineering divisions of three departments from Jagdalpur, Koraput and Vishakhapatnam have been in talks to double the 445 km line, but nothing seems to be working.

There are 48 railway stations, 58 tunnels and 84 bridges on the Kirandul-Kothavalasa railway line. The line covers 131 km in Odisha, 191 km in Chhattisgarh and 138 km in Andhra Pradesh.