The Railways' ambitious infrastructure project -- the Dedicated Freight Corridor-- has been delayed by six months, Railway Board Chairman VK Yadav said Thursday, attributing the delay to the coronavirus crisis that led to workers returning to their hometowns.
The Rs 81,000 crore Dedicated Freight Corridor, the Railways' single-largest developmental project currently underway, was scheduled to be completed by December 2021. It consists of the Eastern DFC, a 1,839-km freight line from Ludhiana in Punjab to Dankuni near Kolkata, West Bengal, and the 1483-km WDFC or western corridor connecting India's capital Delhi and its economic hub Mumbai.
"We suffered a setback due to the coronavirus pandemic which led to issues with labour mobilisation. The new deadline is June 2022," Yadav said.
According to the latest data from the Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation Limited (DFCCIL), the agency has completed 56 per cent of its contractual work on WDFC and 60 per cent on EDFC.
The agency said 99 percent of the required land has been acquired. The completion of the project is set to decongest the Railway network by moving around 70 percent of goods trains to these corridors.
Yadav also said the Railways has three more DFCs in the pipeline, the surveys for which will be completed by 2021.
The Railways will build nearly 4,000-km dedicated freight corridor connecting industrial areas in the eastern and western parts of the country to southern India through major ports in Odisha and Andhra Pradesh, a document on the planned corridors says.
The proposed DFCs are part of the next big ticket infrastructure projects of the Railways. These DFCs are -- 1,115-km East Coast corridor from Kharagpur (West Bengal) to Vijayawada (Andhra Pradesh); the East-West corridor which comprises 1,673 km connecting Bhusaval-Nagpur-Kharagpur-Dankuni (near Kolkata) route, and 195-km Rajkharswan-Kalipahari-Andal (West Bengal) route.
The third is the 975-km North South sub-corridor Vijayawada-Nagpur-Itarsi (Madhya Pradesh) route. These corridors are slated to be completed by 2030.