Special Correspondent

2,700-km eastern, western corridors will be implemented during XI Plan

  • Eastern corridor to cover Ludhiana to Sonnagar
  • IRCTC to provide good food for travelers

    NEW DELHI: The Railways has formed a special purpose vehicle (SPV), Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Limited (DFC-CIL), to implement the Rs. 30,000-crore eastern and western dedicated freight corridors during the XI Plan, according to the Economic Survey tabled in Parliament on Tuesday.

    The survey points out that the "successful financial turnaround of the railways has demonstrated that, given the will, the leakages in the power sector can also be plugged.''

    The railways has proposed a 2,700-km long eastern and western dedicated freight corridors. The eastern corridor from Ludhiana to Sonnagar in Phase-I is 1,279 km, while the western corridor from Mumbai to Dadri/Tughlakabad is 1,283 km. The eastern corridor will be extended to the proposed Deep Sea Water Port near Kolkata as and when traffic builds up. Both corridors would be made suitable for running of longer and heavier trains of 25 tonnes axle load.

    While the eastern corridor would be electrified, the western corridor would operate on diesel traction to permit double stack container operation. Logistics parks are also proposed to be developed along the DFCs.

    The Railways witnessed an increase in freight traffic to 527.95 million tonnes during April-December 2006, as against 481.09 million tonnes in the corresponding period of 2005. In a bid to rationalise the freight tariff structure, the main categories of commodities have been reduced to 27 groups in 2006-07 from 80 in the previous fiscal.

    The Survey said the Railways needed to focus on capacity augmentation. With the Golden Quadrilateral, a high-density road network connecting the four metros (Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai), reaching its saturation point, the Railways planned to invest heavily in increasing capacity. "This entails large investment for capacity augmentation in face of rising demand,'' it said. The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) is developing facilities that would meet the demands of good food for travellers and could generate more revenue, the Survey added. The accident per million train km, an important index of rail safety, has come down from 0.55 in 2001-02 to 0.29 in 2004-05 and further to 0.28 during 2005-06, the survey added.