The dry bulk cargo terminal at Tuna Tekra near Kandla port was connected with railway network of the country as Railway Minister Suresh Prabhy flagged off the first goods train on Gandhidham-Tuna Tekra through remote-control system from Rail Bhavan in New Delhi on Tuesday.
This is second non-government railway line in Gujarat after one connecting Pipapav port in Amreli.
The 17.55 km-long broad gauge railway line is a private rail and has been constructed at the cost of Rs185 crore. Kandla Port Trust (KPT) which manages Kandla port and Adani Port and Special Economic Zone (APSEZ) of Adani Group have funded the railway project. Construction of the new line started in May 2014 and it was completed within a year.
KPT and APSEZ has built a dry cargo terminal off Tuna Tekra, some four km away from Tuna port on public private partnership (PPP) mode. The KPT has awarded the project to APSEZ on build, operate and transfer (BOT) basis for a period of 30 years. Adani Kandla Bulk Terminal Private Limited (AKBTPL), a subsidiary of APSEZ has built the cargo terminal at the cost of approximately Rs1,200 crore while KPT has also spent around Rs200 crore for one-time dredging at the terminal. At any given time, four vessels can dock the terminal which has capacity to handle 14 million metric tonns per annum (MMTPA) cargo. The terminal was commissioned in February this year.
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“The railway line is a significant step towards development of Tuna and dry cargo station. The Tuna port was connected by road but now it has got rail connectivity as well. The dry cargo terminal will mainly handle coal and fertiliser. After unloading cargo at the offshore terminal, it will be brought to storage yards on shore through conveyor belts. While there is no agreement between KPT and Adani to divert coal and fertiliser cargo from Kandla port to Tuna Tekra terminal, customers will have one more option to chose from,” Mukesh Balani, traffic manager of KPT said.
Gandhidham-Tuna Tekra railway line is second private railway line in Gujarat after one laid by Gujarat Pipavav Port Limited in partnership with Indian Railways to connect Pipavav port in Amreli district to Surendrnagar.
A release from the railways said that out of the approximately 18 km line, 11 km was built by railways while the remaining seven km was laid by KPT. Officials of KPT said that Adani had funded the around four-km stretch of the railway line starting from Tuna and ending at Tuna Tekra.
The inaugural goods train flagged off by Prabhu contained 59 wagons loaded with 5,150 tonnes of coal and was headed to Shree Cement sidings at Bangadgram , Ajmer Division of North Western Railway. Prabhu said that Gandhidham-Tuna Tekra line is the first non-government railway (NGR) project of Indian Railways under NGR Policy of 2012
Railway officials said that initially, two rakes will be operated on the new rail line daily and that this frequency will go up to seven per day in coming years. The railways expects to earn approximately Rs500 crore per annum by transporting cargo from Tuna Tekra, the release further said.