Tata, Essar in race to build first dedicated freight corridor

After years of planning, 3,300-km Dedicated Freight Corridor is finally on the horizon with global construction vying for around Rs 12,000-crore civil works for two packages on the Eastern Corridor. Among them are not only the Tatas, Essar and IVCRL but also the Chinese, Russian and Spanish.

China Railway First Group, a part of state owned China Railway Engineering Corporation, in consortium with Soma, Tata-Aldesa, IVRCL-KMB, Essar-Patel-BSCPL are among 10 who have put in bids for building Khurja-Bhaupur (343 km) and Rewari-Palanpur (640 km).

Of the 13 companies technically-qualified for Khurja-Kanpur section, 10 companies submitted their financial bids for this section with Lanco Infratech and Hindustan Construction deciding to skip the race.

Two Japanese consortiums, Sojitz Corporation-L&T and Mitsui-IRCON Leighton consortium are expected to submit financial bids on January 21, 2013 for the Rewari-Palanpur section of Western corridor, a senior official said.

Land acquisition for the two stretches on the eastern stretches is almost completed. The 343-km project was sliced into three subsets, and the bidders had been qualified to bid for one, two or all three. In the bids, the consortia have offered various levels of discounts depending on the size of projects they get.”

The contractor for the World Bank-funded eastern corridor is likely to be announced by the month-end, the official added. The bids are being evaluated by the company and the World Bank.

The World Bank approved loan of $975 million in October, 2011 for the first phase of Eastern Corridor (Khurja-Bhaupur). With the DFCC’s compliance to various triggers, World Bank is also expected to sanction $1.05 billion loan for Kanpur-Ludhiana section. World Bank has agreed in principle to part finance the Eastern Corridor project from Mughalsarai to Ludhiana, which has been divided into three phases. The total in principle loan commitment is $2.725 billion.

In the Eastern Corridor, the acquisition is around 2,000 hectare; about 3,200 hectare is needed in the Western Corridor. Eighty per cent of the entire alignment of the Eastern Corridor is parallel to the existing railway track. However, the alignment takes a detour to skirt busy towns/cities and other inhabited areas, wildlife sanctuaries and forest areas. The major detour alignment on the Eastern Corridor is at the Gurpa Gujandi Ghat Section, Gaya, Allahabad, Kanpur, Aligarh, Meerut and Tundla.

The Indian railways’ quadrilateral linking the four cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Howrah (Kolkata), and its two diagonals (Delhi-Chennai and Mumbai-Howrah), add to a route length of 10,122 km. This carries 55% of revenue earning freight traffic. The existing trunk routes of Howrah-Delhi on the Eastern Corridor and Mumbai-Delhi on the western one are saturated, with line capacity utilisation between 115% and 150%.

The upgraded design features of the DFC are meant to sustain 1.5 km of train length and a 100 kmph speed with a load of 15,000 tonnes. As against the norm of a 22.5-tonne axle load on the existing network, that on DFCC will be 32.5 or 25 tonnes, comparable to the standard in America, Russia and China.

On Western Corridor, DFCC has also committed funding from JICA from Rewari to Palanpur and JNPT to Vadodara. The proposed funding is under Special Terms of Economic Participation (STEP) between the two countries. The value of the proposed loan is JPY 295 billion, which is a soft loan with the repayment period of 40 years.



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