NEW DELHI: In an attempt to take development to the interior areas, the naxalite infested areas of Chhattisgarh will now have train facilities following a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by the Railways, the Chhattisgarh government, the Steel Authority of India (SAIL) and the National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC).
The move is aimed at connecting the mine-rich areas of the State with other parts of the State and country. The 235-km-long broad gauge line on the Dalli-Rajhara-Rowghat-Jagdalpur route will be constructed with the collaboration of other public partners at a cost of Rs. 968.60 crore in two phases with 10 stations on the entire route.
Earlier, a MoU in this regard was signed in 1998 but due to some technical reasons the project did not take off. The revised MoU will complete the project, Railway Minister, Lalu Prasad, said during the signing of the MoU. In the first phase, a 95-km line between Dalli-Rajhara and Rowghat would be constructed whose entire cost of Rs. 304.30 crore would be borne by the SAIL.
In the second phase, the 140-km-long line between Rowghat and Jagdalpur would be constructed at a cost of Rs. 664.30 crore which would be shared by all the partners. Forty-six road under-bridges, 16 road over-bridges, 42 major bridges, 303 minor bridges and a 460-metre long tunnel would be constructed within the project.
Iron ore, steel transport
Railway Board chairman K.C. Jena said the new railway line would ensure easy transportation of iron ore and steel in the country. Besides furthering the industrial progress in the State, it would also bring about socio-economic development of backward areas such as Bastar, Kanker and Narayanpur.
Others present on the occasion included Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh, Union Chemicals, Fertilizers and Steel Minister Ram Vilas Paswan, and the Minister of State for Railways R. Velu.