First rail freight corridor contract to Tata JV

After a delay of around two years, the Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Ltd ( DFCC) has finally awarded its first major contract, of about Rs 3,300 crore, to a Tata–Aldesa joint venture (JV) for construction of a 343-km double track line between Bhaupur (Kanpur) and Khurja.

The World Bank has funded $975 million (Rs 5,250 crore) for this stretch, a design-build lumpsum contract requiring implementation within four years, says DFCC.

With the railways pushing for more and more passenger trains on existing tracks every year, the dedicated freight network is a key infrastructure project for Indian Railways, as it will segregate the passenger and freight networks. The JV on this project is between Tata Projects India and Aldesa of Spain. There were 10 bidders and it was an international competition, says DFCC. China Railway First Group, a part of state-owned China Railway Engineering Corporation, in consortium with Soma, Tata-Aldesa, IVRCL-KMB and Essar-Patel-BSCPL were among the 10 which bid, it said.

The DFC is 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, on DFCC it will be 32.5 or 25 tonnes, comparable to the standard in America, Russia and China. DFCC said it adopted a three-stage bidding process.

The 1,800-km eastern corridor, from Ludhiana in Punjab till Dankuni in West Bengal, required acquisition of around 2,000 hectares. A little over 90 per cent of the land has been acquired, said a senior DFCC official.

About 80 per cent of the entire alignment of the eastern corridor is parallel to the existing rail track. However, it skirts busy towns/cities and other inhabited areas, wildlife sanctuaries and forest areas. The major detour alignment on this corridor is at the Gurpa Gujandi Ghat Section, Gaya, Allahabad, Kanpur, Aligarh, Meerut and Tundla. The proposed DFC quadrilateral would link the four cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata, and its two diagonals (Delhi-Chennai and Mumbai-Howrah), a route length of 10,122 km.

This carries 55 per cent of revenue-earning freight traffic. The existing trunk routes of Howrah-Delhi on the eastern side and Mumbai-Delhi on the western one are saturated, with line capacity utilisation between 115 per cent and 150 per cent.


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