With India joining the select group of billion plus club in freight movement, the focus has once again shifted on the prestigious Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC). The project will enhance the freight carrying capacity of railways by manifold leading to incremental gains, apart from freeing the existing lines on congestion. RK Gupta, Managing Director of Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India speaks to Pratul Sharma on the progress made by the project.
How is the project going on. New projects being awarded and deadlines for completing these projects?
We will be finalising the contract for 640 km long Rewari (Haryana) to Palanpur (Gujarat) line worth `6,700 crore by the month-end. This will make a significant forward movement in the execution of the DFC and will set us on the course to complete the major infrastructure project by 2017.
Two consortiums — Sojits Corporation with L&T and Mitsui, Ircon and Leighton — are in the fray to bag this contract.
Work has already started on the phase I Khurja-Kanpur line in the Eastern Corridor. It will be completed by March 2017.
The 66-km of Mughal Sarai to Sonngarh (120 km) executed by the Indian Railways is likely to be opened for traffic by March next year.
The project cost of Eastern and Western DFC project is currently estimated at `95,836 crore, including cost of land. Western DFC (1,499 km) is funded by loan from Japan International Cooperation Agency. While part of Eastern DFC, 1,183 km of Ludhiana-Khurja-Dadri-Kanpur-Mughalsarai section is funded by World Bank.
Land acquisition is one of the most contentious issues in the country, for which many projects are being held up. Please tell us about the progress?
We have awarded projects on which 100 per cent land has been acquired. The DFC project requires acquiring land in nine States, covering 2,500 villages which would have affected one lakh people. Till now we have acquired 82 per cent of the land required, which comes to 8,657 hectares out of total 10,666 hectares. Rest of the work is on track, though there are certain pockets of opposition in a few villages in Gujarat where people have gone for litigation. Land acquisition has been the smoothest for this project. Of the total Rs 4,863 crore awarded, Rs 3,200 crore has already been sanctioned.
This comes to Rs 7 crore every day. The proposed bill planned by the Centre will not apply to us, as we are acquiring land under the Railways Act 2008. Each state has a separate committee headed by chief secretary which monitors the process.
Railways want to increase its share of freight loading, how will DFC help?
The DFC will not only decongest the existing lines, which will in turn help in increasing the speed of passenger trains, it will lead to other benefits. The DFC though run almost parallel with the existing lines but will not be used for moving passengers. Its aim is to provide multi-modal system for moving goods.
A separate body is already involved in building industrial corridor along the Western corridor. The Uttar Pradesh government wants to develop urban zone in the state. The Urban Development Ministry is looking after this aspect.
Over 200 locomotives with 9,000 horse power (HP) are being bought from Japan that will run on DFC. The carrying capacity of rakes will increase from the current 300 tonnes to over 12,000 tonnes. Even the length of the train will increase to 1500 meters.