NEW DELHI: Indian Railways is trying to deliver several projects worth at least Rs 50,000 crore before March 2019, said a top government official familiar with the matter.
The projects likely to be completed include refurbishment and upgradation of around 70 railway stations, opening up of several stretches of the 3300-km dedicated freight corridor projects, installation of CCTV systems at all major stations and on-board 168 premium trains, and the launch of India’s first indigenous semi high-speed train.
“We’re working on the list of deliverables before April 2019, and there would be a visible difference in Indian Railways,” said the official.
The tender to install around 5 lakh CCTV systems at all major railway stations is likely to be floated by the end of this month and the work would be completed within the next six months. India’s first semi high-speed train, that would run at 160 kmph on select routes, would be tested on tracks by September, and is likely to start replacing the Shatabdi trains by the start of next calendar year.
Railways is expecting to complete construction of first phase of the 3300-km dedicated freight corridors project by year-end. The 1500-km western freight corridor runs from Dadri near Delhi to Jawahar Lal Nehru port trust in Mumbai and the 1800-km eastern corridor is from Ludhiana in Punjab to Dankuni in West Bengal.
DFCC will be making 432 km part of western corridor and 343 km of eastern corridor operational by the end of current financial year. Along with all these initiatives, the ministry is also hoping to start construction of the India’s first bullet train project – the 534-km Mumbai-Ahmedabad high speed corridor – by January next year.
The land acquisition process for the project is under way. The stations that would be upgraded by March 2019 include Pune, Bengaluru, Delhi, Shimla, Mathura, Valsad, Ambala, Varanasi, Dehradun and other major junctions across the country. The upgradation process is being undertaken by railway zones on their own under engineering, procurement and construction model.
The railway ministry’s proposal to extend the lease period of private contractors who are willing to invest in the station redevelopment projects is likely to come up for clearance in the cabinet soon. “We have prepared a cabinet note that proposes extending lease period for concessionaires to 99 years from existing 45. They will also be allowed to sublease the land,” a ministry official said.