The UPA government plans to fast-forward the implementation of long-pending and big-ticket railway projects in the run-up to the 2014 general elections. Amidst recent upheavals following the bribe-for-postings scandal, the only cheer for the Railways has come from the Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) project.
“The DFC’s biggest ever civil contract of R6,700 crore has been awarded to L&T and Sojitz JV for building a 640 kilometre double track from Rewari to Palanpur on the Western Corridor,” a DFCC spokesman said.
In January, the DFCC had awarded the Rs 3,300-crore contract for building a 343 kilometre track from Khurja to Kanpur on the Eastern Corridor.
However, other major projects including the Rs 25,000 crore Mumbai elevated rail corridor project and the much publicised High Speed Rail (HSR) plan have remained on paper.
“Big announcements are planned as a strategy to enable the Railways to break out of its state of policy paralysis,” an official said.
The Rs 4,000 crore plan for setting up diesel and electric locomotive plants under the PPP mode at Madhepura and Marhoura is finally taking shape. After the cabinet cleared revised PPP norms for setting up the two factories, the railways invited vendors at a pre-bid conference last week. Global firms including GE, EMD and Bombardier have evinced interest in partnering with the railways in the two projects.
“The new railways minister will also need to take a call on critical issues including plans for technological upgrade and expansion of railway infrastructure,” said Krishan Lal Thapar of the Asian Institute of Transport.