Tag Archives: dedicated freight corridors

New Dedicated Freight Corridors of Indian Railways

Apart from Eastern(Ludhiana to Dankuni) and Western (Jawaharlal Nehru Port to Dadri) Dedicated Freight Corridors (DFCs) currently under implementation, in Budget Speech 2016-2017, it is proposed to take up the following freight corridors:-(i) East-West Corridor (2328 kms) (Kolkata-Mumbai); (ii) North-South Corridor(2343 km) (Delhi-Chennai); and (iii) East Coast Corridor (1114 km) ( Kharagpur-Vijaywada).

The Preliminary Engineering Cum Traffic Survey (PETS) Reports of these Corridors have been completed. As per the PETS reports, salient features of the Corridors are: (1) parallel to the existing alignment, (2) designed for 25 tonne axle load standards (upgradable to 32.5 tonne axle load) with maximum speed of 100 km/h, and (3) design for no surface crossings and rail flyovers at Junction Stations.

The freight traffic projections in the three new corridors as per PETS reports indicate a level of approximately 1300 million tonnes by 2026-27. Estimated completion Costs are :- (i) East-West Corridor – ` 1,10,529 crore; (ii) North-South Corridor – ` 1,04,471 crore; and (iii) East Coast Corridor – ` 56,749 crore.

This information was given by the Minister of State for Railways  Manoj Sinha in a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha on Wednesday.

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Posted by on March 13, 2016 in Uncategorized


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Railway Budget to announce more freight corridors

Hectic preparation has begun for 2016 rail budget, whose mantra will be to declog railways by decongesting overworked trunk routes. It will also shun populism like announcement of new trains in view of choked railway network.

“What is the use of announcing new trains (as in the past), when railways have no route capacity. We want to decongest railways first,” Railway minister Suresh Prabhu in a free-wheeling chat said indicating the rail budget in 2016 will shun populism just as this year with special emphasis to fix the chronic problem of congestion by stepping up investment. Also one need not always announce new trains only in budget. As and when capacity improves and increases, new trains would be introduced as per requirement.

For example Mughalsarai-Allahabad stretch is so overworked and it needed to be first decongested before introducing more trains on the route, Prabhu said.

Prabhu was not oblivious to the demand for more trains but for that capacity has to be created and that is the priority of the railways now. However the Railways have stepped up passenger carrying capacity during the last one year by adding more coaches to the existing trains. This has helped in stepping up passenger carrying capacity by 30-40 per cent in some routes without adding new trains particularly in sleeper classes in choked sectors.

The rail budget is also likely to announce expansion of dedicated freight corridors in the country. The railways have already started implementing Delhi-Mumbai and Ludhiana-Kolkata freight corridors. The railways are spending Rs 82,000 crore for implementing these two sections through a special purpose vehicle. JICA and World Bank are providing part of the funding and 85 per cent of the land for the two sections have already been acquired.

Prabhu said the freight corridor project completion has been advanced by a couple of years to 2017 to decongest these two high density routes. Once completed railways will be able to run goods train with a schedule and will provide more capacity to run passenger trains with higher speed on the existing lines. At present there is no time schedule for goods trains.

There are indications that at least two more dedicated freight corridors are expected to be announced in the budget. The railways has almost completed feasibility study of four more dedicated freight corridors, connecting Delhi-Chennai, Chennai-Kolkata, Chennai-Goa and Mumbai-Kolkata.

Railways would soon be announcing an independent authority, which is an improvement over the rail tariff authority that would look into passenger fares, freight and monitor efficiency. The authority would do the cost benefit analysis of various routes and fix freight and passenger fares accordingly. The significant aspect is that it will take into account efficiency in determining freight charges and passenger fares.

This body is being given final shape and will be announced soon much before the next budget. Another priority area for railways in the next budget is going to be stepping up electrification as a measure to reduce dependence on fossil fuel. This would not only help railways go green but also save on fuel cost. Despite fall in global crude oil prices, the railways still spend Rs 22,000 crore on diesel alone this year.

The railways proposed to take up 10,000 route km of electrification in the next three years, which when completed will help in saving in fuel cost of at least Rs 5000 crore annually.

India had only 380 route km of electrified railway track at the time of independence. By 2014, it had gone up to a little over 25,000 km. The NDA government proposed to add more than one third of the number in just three years. Prabhu feel electrification is a priority for railways as the rate of return on investment is one of the highest and payback time is short.

Prabhu is keen to make railways more and more green. Electrification is a step in that direction. Railways has also proposed to play a role in solar power generation by taking up projects in various stations and elsewhere. It would leapfrog in solar power generation from the present 5MW to 1000 MW in three years. It is proposed to have rooftop solar power in railway stations and already a beginning has been made in Katra station in Jammu. It has also set up a 25MW wind power generation in Rajasthan.

Railways proposed to spend Rs 8.5 lakh crore on modernisation of railways in the next five years. Though there is no dearth on availability of funds, the railways would have to adopt innovative funding as it cannot solely depend on internal resource generation through fares and freight and budgetary support.

Life Insurance Corporation would provide Rs 1.5 lakh crore funding, of which first tranche of Rs 2000 crore was secured recently. Commercialisation of railway property could be one of the innovative funding of railway modernisation. Foreign direct investment is expected to pour in modernisation of railway stations apart from major real estate developers and domestic construction companies At least 417 stations have been identified on which work is expected to start next financial year. 5-6 stations including Anand Vihar in Delhi and couple in Gujarat, the work would start this financial year itself.

Port connectivity would be another area railways would concentrate. There are already some projects have been taken up under PPP mode in Gujarat and Maharashtra and more such projects would be taken up as they are money spinner for the railways, Prabhu indicated.

Prabhu said he did not believe in announcing projects for which there is no funding. Several such projects have been announced in the past including several rail coach factories and very few have come up.

Now states were coming forward to set up railway projects in their respective states. Seventeen states have so far shown interest in signing MOUs with railways on cost sharing basis. Maharashtra, which was the latest to join the bandwagon was willing to invest up to Rs 10,000 crore, which meant at least Rs 50,000 crore more could be leveraged for such rail projects in the state.

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Posted by on November 10, 2015 in Uncategorized


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Dedicated freight corridors of the Indian Railways will speed up economy

If one were to look for a symbol that encapsulates the idea of India, perhaps one that would make sense to everyone, it would be the Indian Railways. Stretching across the country, past fields, over rivers, through small towns and big ones, talking in many tongues, tasting different cuisines, churning lives together, the train is a mini India. A veritable modern caravan.

India’s growing population in search of jobs, education and the promise of better alternatives, needs more and faster trains. With the economy growing at an accelerated rate and industrial activity quickening pace, goods have to move in larger volumes. A burgeoning demand for additional trains, both passengers and freight, is posing a serious crisis for the Indian Railways, given its capacity to manage existing trains and to handle additional traffic in the coming years.

Let’s look at the Indian Railways story in the context of a fast growing economy, rising demography and the consequent relentless pace of mobility. At present, the Indian Railways runs approximately 12,000 passenger trains carrying over 23 million passengers per day connecting about 8,000 stations spread across the country. This amounts to moving the entire population of Australia. About 8,000 freight trains run daily, carrying about three million tonnes of freight.

The rail network of 65,000 route kilometres is more than one and half times the circumference of the earth. Indian Railways is in league with China, Russia and USA with an originating rail freight loading of one billion plus. Yet, the railways cater to only 20 per cent of the total passenger traffic and 35 per cent of the freight traffic moving across the country. Nonetheless, there is always a wait list for tickets and shortage of wagons for moving goods on an as-is-where-is basis, aggravated during peak demand seasons such as festivals.

The obvious solution would be to introduce more trains as and when required. But this is too simplistic. All trains use the same tracks. The constraint is the maximum number of trains one can run at a particular speed. In the technical language of the railways, this is called line capacity. In the budget speech, the railway minister said that 65 per cent of the rail route is saturated, i.e., it is carrying more traffic than it should, if speeds are to be maintained safely at a particular level. Any additional train would severely impact the speeds of all trains. So, while the long waiting list of harassed passengers indicates a pressing need for new trains and there is an equal need for additional freight trains, the capacity to run them on the existing routes would affect speeds of all trains.

Priority to passenger trains delays goods movement adversely impacting both industry and the railways.Those anxious about deadline delivery of their consignments prefer moving goods by road, even though this is more expensive. As such, the share of freight carried by railways has declined from 86 per cent in 1950-51 to 36 per cent by 2011-12, even the though total freight traffic has grown, exponentially. In most countries, about 50 per cent of freight moves through the railway network.

To reverse this trend, the Indian Railways has decided to build dedicated freight lines called dedicated freight corridors (DFC) so as to segregate passenger trains from freight trains, thus generating sufficient capacity to meet increases both for passenger and freight trains. Six routes have been identified as dedicated freight corridors. Two of these corridors, approximately 2,800 km in length connecting Delhi to Mumbai and Delhi to Kolkata and costing nearly Rs 80,000 crore are expected to be ready and operational by 2018. All freight traffic running on these existing routes, say 60 trains each way daily, would get diverted to these corridors, releasing capacity for running more and faster passenger carrying trains. With these dedicated corridors, a freight train leaving Delhi in the evening can reach Mumbai the following morning, in about the same time as a Delhi-Mumbai Rajdhani express, as compared to several days that it takes now.

The average speed of freight trains would accelerate from a frustrating 25 kmph to 70 kmph, with the maximum speed going up to 100 kmph and more. Faster and timely movement of commodities would reduce inventory costs to the customer. An added advantage would be in introducing roll on roll off or RORO services, that implies carrying a truck on to a wagon rather than loading/unloading goods a truck at originating and terminating points. This concept has already been tried out internationally, and in India, it is being done on the Konkan Railway. This would have a significant impact on reducing handling costs for the trade. It would also reduce the uncertainties of labour dependencies and consequent inordinate delays, often at critical times — like moving food grains.

The new tracks being laid for the freight corridor can handle heavier trains. This is expected to more than double the freight carrying capacity of the trains from the current 6,000 tonnes to 13,000 tonnes. The western corridor would primarily cater to containerised traffic, mostly exports and imports, while the eastern corridor would be used mainly for moving coal from mines in east India to power plants in the north. Double stack container trains are also under consideration, thereby increasing the handling capacity of the railways and also decongesting ports when consignments arrive.

The construction of the western and eastern corridors alone would generate a demand for 2.7 million tonnes of cement and 1.6 million tonnes of steel, boosting these two infrastructure industries. It would also create demand for electric equipment and cables, signalling equipment, new locomotives and rolling stock, stimulating manufacturing. Some of the Japanese companies have committed to make this equipment in India. Employment would be generated with more than a thousands jobs coming up in the construction of the corridor and facilities along the corridor, including logistics parks to handle cargo and townships. The dedicated freight corridors would thus be a key engine for economic growth. It would contribute to the Make in India programme by enabling business, as well as to the 100 smart cities that the government plans to build, as some of these would be along the freight corridor.

Moving most freight trains to the new corridor would also improve the quality of life. By reducing congestion on the main tracks, it would enable passenger trains to move faster. Increased rail capacity for passengers and freights would reduce truck congestion on roads. This alone would greatly contribute to both vehicular efficiency on the roads and consequently significant reduction of air pollution. Transportation by rail is six times more eco-friendly than by road and reduces dependence on imported fuel specially if it is on electric traction. Highly fuel-efficient, the energy consumption of trains is one third less than private cars and five times less than airplanes. The rail system has a 30 per cent less land requirement in comparison to expressways for the same carrying capacity. The nation gains a green economy and a healthy environment if traffic, specially freight, is diverted from road to rail.

There are, however, challenges. The major hurdle is arranging resources to meet the cost of constructing dedicated corridors, about 8,000-plus km and to have the institutional flexibility and efficiency of decision making and execution to avoid time and cost over runs and to respond in ways that match national needs with global opportunities, without being bogged down by archaic governance practices. Such a situation calls for innovative thinking.

The institutional arrangement for dedicated freight corridors provides a platform for innovation. Segregating infrastructure from the operational system is like a dream come true for those who have involved in the heated debates on this subject for several years now. Recently, the Bibek Debroy committee also emphasised the need to separate infrastructure development from operation management. Dedicated freight corridors are being built, managed and operated by a separate entity called Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India (DFCCIL) to ensure focused attention for such a large project. Though, technically, a public sector undertaking under the ministry of railways, the dedicated freight corridor corporation of India is independent of the other project executing agencies of the Indian Railways and hence has its own management. This is similar to the container corporation (CONCOR) which has been disinvested from time to time and with good results. DFCCIL and the Indian Railway thus remain two distinct through complementing management entities.

DFCCIL is a government of India enterprise, distinct from Indian Railway in terms of its management, finance and operation. But in so far as multilateral funding is concerned, the loans to it from the World Bank and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Japan, would be routed through the Indian Railways. The responsibility for repaying the loan lies with DFCCIL. The Indian Railway’s portion of funding is borne on the general exchequer through the ministry of railway. Thus, we have an institutional arrangement for freight management which is autonomous, dedicated with ring-fenced financial structuring for building a major infrastructure project with government support. We need to leverage this innovative idea of building institutions on the peripheries of the government that can become self-sustaining while providing value to the economy. This is what was done in the US by private players who built dedicated freight lines, privately owned. It can also play a lead role in transforming the railways from a loss making operation to an efficient and profitable venture.

Lets now look at financing. Building infrastructure on such a massive scale requires huge funds and for a long gestation period. Obviously, these would not be easily accessible. This is where ingenuity is needed rather than a begging bowl. With the two corridors nearing completion and revenue streams appearing on the horizon, this should be an ideal time to look ahead and plan on how to leverage this experience for future corridors.

Presently, railway projects are financed by the railway ministry generating surplus from its operations, some borrowing from the open market and support from the general exchequer. Resource dependency on the government would eventually, constrain project execution of this magnitude and may also compromise financial support to other sectors of the economy. Alternative financing methods with low/zero burden on trade, need to be examined. Whatever they gain, should be in terms of value of service provided.

Today, Indian Railways’ freight earnings not only subsidise passenger costs but are also utilised to meet other obligations of maintenance of the network, passenger amenities and building new tracks in uncharted territories where the returns on investment are low. This leaves little fund for building more segregated routes. A robust and self-sustaining financial model is critical to large, investment-intensive, public services on a national scale. The revenues earned by the dedicated freight corporation should be its major stream of funding. If, for example, one needs to spend Rs 10 crore per km to build the dedicated route and one can generate four times the amount from the traffic moving over it, then the money so generated should be earmarked for laying more such lines.

These are approximately the present day financials for the dedicated freight corridors. Raising such level of funds would require market friendly financial strategies that attract investments with assured returns to investors. This appears possible, in the emerging scenario. Additional financial streams/ sweeteners may be developed by way of terminals like Multi-modal Logistic Parks (MMLP) and intermediates with inland waterway authority, etc. Commercial utilisation of land, whose ownership is yet with the railways, could also be explored. It should be simple to build a financial model for leveraging this revenue to finance future corridors. A scheme of amortising future cash-flows also needs to be examined.

It is possible to have revenues arising from one stream, say Delhi-Mumbai, put under a separate head of account in the government budget so that the profits are obvious to the investor and indicate the level of investment made. Presently, no such mechanism exists since all funds go into the consolidated fund of India. Year-on-year income/expenditure streams are also not clearly delineated. For an investor this is not attractive at all. Since the forecast over 10 to 15 years has been accounted for and the outflow for both maintenance and repayment would be low in the initial years, the revenues should be quite healthy for attracting private investors through various schemes like investor public offering, raising money through floating shares, etc. Similarly, utilising the private investment window of multilateral agencies may also be tapped. Freight corridors should be money spinners rather than money guzzlers that ministries tend to make it.

The present system suffers from many risks which have to be ironed out before the present system starts commercial operation. An investor would need to know the risks involved in putting his money of the scale of Rs 80,000 crore. These need to be clearly spelt out and hence all issues need to be resolved beforehand. Similarly, the costs need to be pruned down with the experience gained. The major challenge would be time and cost of execution, a proper assessment of cash flows, risk mitigation and financial structuring. In the emerging scenario, these appear doable. It is believed that wagon design for higher capacity has already been approved. Similarly, identified feeder routes are nearing upgradation. This should go a long way in mitigating risks associated with the project. If commercial operations are possible now, why defer them to a future?

There is some discussion afoot of making DFCCIL independent of the ministry of railway. While this should be an end objective, it might be premature at the initial stage. Land acquisition, if required, would be easier if done by the Indian Railways as government ministry and also be exempt from many restrictive conditions of the new land acquisition act under the “linear growth” clause. The surplus land with Indian Railways can also be utilised as is being done in the case of the two corridors under construction. The investment being undertaken in constructing additional lines for generating capacity can form part of the dedicated network. For example, the third line being constructed between Itarsi and Bina can form part of the dedicated Delhi to Chennai route.

The expenditure incurred should be treated as Indian Railway’s equity so that government retains majority shareholding as part of its rules. This would not only lower costs but also reduce land acquisition requirement thus reducing time overruns substantially. Indian Railways’ investment should be only in the land that is utilised for building the DFC so that its funds/cash flows are utilised for alternate uses like building routes leading to these dedicated routes, investment in passenger amenities and other IT based systems for passengers.

This is the first time that the government of India is building a parallel network distinct from the Indian Railways. It is the first time ownership of infrastructure is distinct from the operator. It is the first time that this infrastructure is built, managed and operated by an entity distinct from Indian Railways. It is also the first time that financing of such an infrastructure and the receivables are separate from the consolidated fund of India. Such firsts are rare opportunities. They should be leveraged for dedicating a major rail venture to nation building.

(The writer is an officer of the Indian RailwayTraffic Service. He retired recently, as member, Traffic, Railway Board)

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Posted by on October 28, 2015 in Uncategorized


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Railways to import bogies from Amsted to speed up freight

For the first time in its history, Indian Railways will import 4,000 light-weight bogies from world’s leading wagon maker Amsted for Rs 400 crore to treble speed of freight movements, sources told Bloomberg TV India on Friday.

The bogies will facilitate faster movement. The technological enhancement is in the bogies which will run the wagons at 110 km/hr which is almost thrice as fast as the wagons running at present.

The imports of high-speed wagons assumes importance in the wake of the India’s ambitious plan to build dedicated freight corridors that can cut down on transport time and cost, reduce congestion along busy routes and help accelerate economic activity.

“Amsted will deliver the first tranche of 260 bogies to Railways within the next six months,” an official said. The plan is to import a total 4,000 bogies for Rs 400 crore.

In the first phase, the imported bogies will be used to carry iron ore and steel. “Only 2-3 iron ore mines will get to use the bogies in the first phase,” an official said.

The imported light weight bogies to increase speed significantly. Amsted wagons can transport goods at 110 km/hr, which is almost three times faster than the average 40 km/hr taken by Indian freight wagons.

Although Indian Railways has been importing parts from foreign manufacturers, this is the first time it will import the full bogies from world leader Amsted.

Amsted Rail is world’s largest freight car component manufacturer apart from being the industry leaders in wheels, bearings, side frames and bolsters, and rail anchors.

Indian Railways association with Amsted is not new. In 2012, the Railways imported 9,000 high-speed draft gears from the American company.

In case of locomotives, Indian Railways have imported the first set of WDM broad-gauge diesel mixed-traffic engines from the American Locomotive Company (Alco) in 1962. Since 1964, it has been manufactured in India by the Diesel Locomotive Works (DLW), Varanasi. The new variant WDM-2B locos have a maximum speed of 120 km/hr.

The Indian Railways aims to link the four metropolitan cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata and its two diagonals (Delhi-Chennai and Mumbai-Kolkata). The 10,122-km route of the corridors carries more than half of the country’s freight.—railways-to-import-bogies-from-amsted-to-speed-up-freight

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Posted by on August 8, 2015 in Uncategorized


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Alstom JV wins $233m Eastern DFC systems contract

Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India (DCCIL) has awarded the AIL-ATSA joint venture (JV) an Rs15bn ($233m) systems contract for the 343km section of the Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor (EDFC) from Bhaupur to Khurja.

The AIL-ATSA JV comprises Alstom India (AIL) and Alstom Transport SA (ATSA).

The contract includes design and construction of electrification, signalling, telecommunications, buildings and other associated works, in addition to installation of automatic signalling, electronic interlockings, train detection using multi-section digital axle counters (MSDAC), train management system, OFC-based communication system and GSM-R.

The project is funded by the World Bank and the contract has been awarded through its International Competitive Bidding process.

The electrification work includes traction power supply, overhead equipment (OHE) and installation of the Scada for the 2X25kV AC system.

“The contract includes design and construction of electrification, signalling, telecommunications, buildings and other associated works.”

The project also includes the construction of station buildings, an operations control centre (OCC), maintenance depots and residential quarters.

The Bhaupur-Khurja section of the Eastern DFC will have ten freight stations located between 35km and 40km apart, four of which will provide connections to the existing Indian Railways infrastructure.

The freight corridors are designed for 1,500m-long, 13,000t trains and 32.5t axleloads, although the line’s axleload will initially be limited to 25t. The trains will operate at a maximum speed of 100km/h, as well as improve the present average speed of 25km/h on Indian Railway to 65km/h.

The civilwork contract is already awarded and construction is currently underway on the Bhaupur-Khurja section, which is scheduled to be completed in 2018.

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Posted by on July 29, 2015 in Uncategorized


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The promise of freight corridors

The much-delayed project to build the ambitious eastern and western dedicated freight corridors has received a boost with the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approving a revised cost estimate for it. At Rs.81,459 crore, the figure is more than double the originally estimated Rs.28,181 crore. The 1,839-km-long eastern corridor will connect Ludhiana in Punjab with Dankuni in West Bengal. It will have two components, a double-track section and a single-track segment, both electrified. It will cut across six States. The eastern corridor will cater to traffic streams including coal, finished steel, cement and fertilizer. The western corridor will cover nearly 1,500 km, connecting the Jawaharlal Nehru Port near Mumbai with Dadri, and passing through States such as Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra. A substantial portion of the revised cost will be met by way of debt from multilateral institutions such as the Japan International Cooperation Agency and the World Bank. The equity requirement of the Railways will be around Rs.23,796 crore. Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Ltd., the special purpose vehicle set up by the Railways to implement the project, is keen to complete it by 2017-18. Once the twin-corridor system is in place, it will transform the very profile of the Railways. A host of positive outcomes, such as reduction in transportation costs and stepped-up commercial activity, benefiting a range of core industries, could flow from it. This could in turn have a multiplier effect on the economy.

Poor infrastructure has been a principal worry for Indian industry. More often than not, this has affected its ability to be efficient providers of goods and services. End-consumers have been forced to pay for the collective inefficiency. The twin-corridor project was conceived in 2005 and was approvedby the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government in 2008. The huge cost overruns owing to the time lapse tell their own tale, and reflect the massive challenge facing policy-planners in pushing through a project of this size and magnitude that has inter-State implications. From a slow decision-making process to roadblocks to land acquisition, there are problems aplenty in the way ahead for the project. No doubt, land acquisition is turning out to be a touchy political issue. Prevarication on the decision-making front will hurt the viability of even soundly conceived projects. The Narendra Modi-led government would do well to ensure that the twin-corridor project goes through without any further delay. The key to doing so will lie also in taking along the States concerned.

The Hindu

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Posted by on June 28, 2015 in Uncategorized


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“We will start commissioning Dedicated Freight Corridors by 2018”

Interview with Adesh Sharma, Managing Director of Dedicated Freight Corridor

After years of delay, work on the Rs 81,000 crore Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) project, India’s ambitious attempt to reform freight transport, has picked up pace. With most of the land and funding requirement for the project tied-up, the management is confident of starting phased commissioning beginning 2018, Adesh Sharma, Managing Director of Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India(DFCCIL) told Sudheer Pal Singh in an interview. Edited Excerpt

What is the overall progress of the project and what is keeping you busy currently?

The DFC Project has gained momentum and there is significant increase in the progress of work in Rewari-Iqbalgarh section of Western Corridor as well as in Khurja-Bhaupur section of Eastern Corridor, despite several land constraints. Funding for both the corridors has been tied up, except for Khurja-Ludhiana section of Eastern Corridor, where the negotiations with World Bank are going on.  Securing land and tying-up funds are the two most crucial steps for any infra project followed by the award of the contracts and monitoring the progress.  We are currently working on all the four stages simultaneously. Of the total 3,350 Km length of the DFC project, work is already in progress in 360 Km in EDFC and 650 Km in the WDFC. Civil contracts have been awarded for the Kanpur-Mughalsarai section of the EDFC during March, 2015.

What is the progress on land acquisition front? How would the ongoing discussions on the land bill impact the project?

Acquisition of land is the first requirement.  DFC is a linear project with a length of more than 3,300 Km, where a total land to the extent of 10,537 hactare is to be acquired.  So far, 8,874 hactare of land has been acquired which is 84 per cent of the total land requirement, excluding Sonnagar-Dankuni section (on PPP basis).  There are patches of land yet to be acquired affecting a length of 245 Km in Eastern Corridor and 113 Km on Western Corridor.  The matter is being vigorously pursued with the state governments. Most of these patches are in UP, Bihar, Gujarat and Maharashtra.  Acquisition of balance 16 per cent land is certainly an area of concern as the provisions of new Land Acquisition Act will apply soon.

What is the latest cost estimate for the project and how much of funding has been tied-up?

The total cost of DFC is Rs 81,460 crore excluding the Sonnagar-Dankuni section being built on PPP mode.  Of the total cost, two-third is arranged through debt and the rest is equity of the rail ministry. The EDFC is funded by World Bank. The WDFC is funded by JICA. The World Bank will provide a total loan of $2.725 billion. Agreements have been signed for two loan components for $2.10 billion.  The second loan agreement was signed in Dec 2014.  JICA will provide total loan of 645 billion Yen.  The expenditure till April 2015 is Rs 13,250 crore, including land.

What is the progress on placement of contracts? 

The process of fixing contracts was initiated after tying up the funds and achieving at least 75 per cent progress in land acquisition.  Contract for Rs 4,000 crore were awarded during 2013 in Khurja-Kanpur section of EDFC.  Similarly, contracts for Rs 7,000 crore were awarded between Rewari and Iqbalgarh during August 2013.  After tying-up funds for EDFC-2, recently a contract for Khurja-Kanpur has been awarded at a cost of Rs 5,080 crore in March 2015.  One more contract of electrification between Rewari to Vadodara was awarded in November, 2014 at a cost of Rs 4,000 crore.  Thus, so far civil contracts for 66 per cent of the length have been awarded in Eastern Corridor and 43 per cent in Western Corridor.  It is further planned to award 85 per cent of the contracts by March 2016 and balance 15 per cent by June 2016.

How confident are you of meeting the deadline of December 2019?  

We are fully geared up.  We are pursuing the acquisition of the balance 16 per cent of the land and fixing the contracts for all works including civil, electrical and signaling and telecom works.  The progress of the on-going works is being monitored at Managing Director level on daily basis.  We will surely complete the entire EDFC and WDFC by 2019.  Phased commissioning of DFC will start from the year 2018 onwards.

How would the project change the freight transport scenario? 

DFC will be a game changer in freight transport sector.  A freight consignment today takes 2-3 days to move between Delhi and Mumbai.  After completion of DFC route, the time will reduce to less than 24 hours.  Thus, DFC will provide very efficient, reliable and fast mode of transport.    This will help in improvement of railways’ share in transport from the present level of 36 per cent.  WDFC will involve movement of double-stack containers with electric traction for the first time in the world.  The average speed of trains will increase to 70 Km per hour compared to 25 Km per hour due to traffic constraints on Indian Railways. The unit cost of transport is also expected to reduce by 40 per cent making DFC economical as compared to other modes of transport.

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Posted by on May 21, 2015 in Uncategorized


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