Ministry of Railways to announce ₹56,000-crore Kharagpur-Vijayawada “East Coast Freight Corridor”

The decision was taken as the Kharagpur-Vijaywada section is one of the busiest freight routes on the East Coast, according to DFCCIL. The freight corridor between Kharagpur and Vijaywada section will be 1,114km in length and is part of the Golden Quadrilateral project of the Indian Railways.

NEW DELHI: Indian Railways is going to propose the inclusion of India’s third freight corridor between Kharagpur and Vijaywada sections to be built at a cost of about ₹56,000 crore next year. The project, which is also called the East Coast Corridor, will be 1,114km in length and is part of the Golden Quadrilateral project of Indian Railways.

“The Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Ltd (DFCCIL) has sent a proposal to Indian Railways to undertake the third dedicated freight corridor project. Indian Railways is going to put the project before the finance ministry for its inclusion in Budget 2019-20,” DFCCIL managing director A.K. Sachan said.

The decision was taken as the Kharagpur-Vijaywada section is one of the busiest routes in East Coast. The project will be funded using equity from Indian Railways and loans.

Indian Railways, through its arm DFCCIL, is already undertaking the construction of two freight corridors—Eastern Freight Corridor from Ludhiana to Dankuni (1,856km) and Western Freight Corridor from Dadri to Jawaharlal Nehru Port (1,504km)—being built at a cost of ₹81,000 crore.

On 15 August, DFCCIL conducted a successful train run on the newly-built Ateli-Phulera section of the Western Corridor.

The 190-km route from Haryana to Rajasthan has the ability to run trains at a speed of 100km per hour against the current maximum speed of 75km per hour on Indian Railways track.

Finance minister Arun Jaitley in his budget speech for 2016-17 had proposed to take up three more freight corridors—East-West Corridor (2,328km) between Kolkata and Mumbai, North-South Corridor (2,343km) between Delhi and Chennai and East Coast Corridor (1,114km) between Kharagpur and Vijaywada.

The Railways, in its Preliminary Engineering Cum Traffic Survey (PETS) reports of these three corridors, had said that the corridors will run parallel to the existing alignment and will be designed in such a way that there were no surface crossing or rail flyovers.

The freight traffic projections in the three new corridors, according to PETS reports, indicate a level of approximately 1,300 million tonnes by 2026-27.

The estimated completion costs for the East-West Corridor is ₹1,10,529 crore, while for the North-South and East Coast Corridors it is ₹1,04,471 crore and ₹56,749 crore, respectively, according to a response in Parliament by minister of state for railways Manoj Sinha in 2016.

Hiring plans

DFFCIL is in the process of hiring 1,500 technical staff this year. The organisation is estimated to have a permanent staff strength of 6,200 by 2020, when present set of corridors will be completed. The staff cost of freight corridor stretches is included in the overall project cost of 81,000 crore.

“We will now approach the Railway Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO) to allow running of higher speed double-stack container trains,” Anurag Sachan, Managing Director, DFCCIL, said at a conference here on Thursday.

The cost of the project is expected to be 40,000 crore, which will be funded through equity by the Railways and loan from multilateral agencies, including Japanese funding agency JICA or World Bank.