Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and railways minister Suresh Prabhu would jointly lay the foundation stone of Multi-Modal Logistics Hub (MMLH) at Kila Raipur in Ludhiana on January 20.
A decision to this effect was taken by the chief minister while presiding over a high level meeting of the officers of the state government and the railways ministry here at his office, an official release said.
The chief minister, while highlighting the significance of this prestigious project, said that "in the wake of the extension of Eastern Freight Corridor from Dankuni up to Amritsar and Western Freight Corridor from JNPT Navi Mumbai to Khurja (Uttar Pradesh), Punjab was on the threshold of ushering in an era of unprecedented economic development."
"In such a scenario MMLH - to be constructed at a cost of Rs 500 crore in Kila Raipur - would prove to be a game changer for the industry of the state.
"Being near to Ludhiana, this MMLH would provide direct linkage to the Eastern Freight Corridor," he said, adding that Ludhiana-Dhuri-Jakhal feeder line would join it with the Western Corridor at Rewari (Haryana) thereby immensely benefitting the industry of the state by prompt, easy and cheap transport of raw material and finished goods through the Railways.
Highlighting the benefits of this prestigious project, the chief minister said it was all the more important because in future as per Foreign Trade Act, 1992, only MMLH could handle Export- Import (EXIM) Cargo.
Badal said this MMLH would be enabled with the facility for Reefer Containers (refrigerated shipping container) for domestic and international cargo.
Likewise, he said that it would have silo storage (for storing bulk materials) for one lakh tonnes grains.
Domestic terminal would have storage facility on the Railhead for Steel, Fertilizer, Cement and others that would cut down logistics cost drastically, he further said.
"This MMLH will be equipped with the ultra modern facilities like container handling yard, bulk handling yard, Rail side Warehousing, Multi user Warehousing, temperature controlled Warehousing, Truck terminus and other facilities, which will boost the trade and commerce in the region," Badal said.
The chief minister further said that at present EXIM traffic of Punjab was 4 lakh containers and domestic traffic from Punjab was about 25,000 containers.
He said that after the completion of first phase of this project by March 2016 it would capture EXIM traffic generated in the area and the projected traffic would be 7.5 lakh containers.
The chief minister also said that he would soon take up the issue of constructing another such MMLH with the railways ministry at Khasa near Amritsar as there was a tremendous scope of trade and commerce once the Indo-Pak borders were opened for trade.
He asked the officers to explore the viability of getting about 100 acres of land required for this project.