To give a fillip to the work on the eastern dedicated freight corridor (DFC),the ministry of finance may soon seek funding of $2.25 billion on behalf of the railways from the World Bank. The Indian Railways has approached the World Bank for financing the 725 km of the Mughalsarai-Khurja portion of the Eastern corridor,and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for the 426 km Khurja-Ludhiana portion.
The Eastern DFC is planned from Ludhiana in Punjab to Dankuni (1,806 km) near Kolkata. The option to extend it to the deep sea port proposed in Kolkata area is also being kept open by the railways.
Site studies on the Mughalsarai line have already started and bank officials are taking stock of the situation on the ground along the stretch. Once this is done,negotiations for the loan will commence with the World Bank, a finance ministry official said. The World Bank is expected to fund about 70 per cent of the project cost for the Mughalsarai-Khurja portion.
Even though the project was conceived in 2008,actual work has been rather slow. According to railway ministry officials,the contract for engagement of general consultants for the work on the Kanpur-Khurja section of Eastern DFC has been awarded to do the detailed design,prepare standard World Bank compliant documents and also for the project management consultancy.
The ministry of railways is currently re-aligning the track routes along the Mughal Sarai route due to opposition on land acquisition. These issues are expected to be resolved soon even though Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee has forbidden forceful acquisition, officials said.
The Eastern Corridor will traverse 6 states and is projected to cater to a number of traffic streams coal for the power plants in the northern region of UP,Delhi,Harayana,Punjab and parts of Rajasthan from the Eastern coal fields,finished steel,food grains,cement,fertilizers,lime stone from Rajasthan to steel plants in the east and general goods.
The total traffic in the UP direction is projected to go up from 38 million tonnes in 2005-06 to 116 million tonnes in 2021-22. Similarly,in the Down direction,the traffic level has been projected to increase from 14 million tonnes in 2005-06 to 28 million tons in 2021-22. As a result,the incremental traffic over the base year,works out to 92 million tonnes from the base year of 2005-06.