The Chhattisgarh Government on Wednesday signed an MOU for a joint venture with the Union Railway Ministry for the development of 884 kilometres of rail lines in the state. The agreement, which took place in Delhi, was attended by state Chief Minister Raman Singh, Union Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu, and Union Minister for Power and Coal Piyush Goyal.
Under the joint venture, the Centre and the State will collaborate on the building of four rail corridors. The first will connect Dongargarh-Kharaigarh-Kawardha onwards to Bilaspur and stretches across 270 kilometres, the second is between Raipur and Jharsaguda with 310 kilometres, the third connects Ambikapur and Bawardih and stretches across 182 kilometres, and the fourth Surajpur Parsa East West corridor has a length of 122 kilometres.
Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh said that the setting up of these rail corridors would herald progress in far backward areas. The Chhattisgarh Government already has a joint venture with the Coal, Rail and Power Ministries to build 546 kilometres of railroads in the state which are likely to be completed between 2018 and 2021 in different phases. Singh said that these ventures were being made to correct the imbalance which sees Chhattisgarh rail density less than half of the national average, with the state however being one of the largest contributors in terms of freight revenue.
Suresh Prabhu said that the coordination between the Centre and the State in this case was an example of cooperative federalism. He said that the two parties were already running a successful model, and other states had come forward for such arrangements as well.