The local industry has welcomed the decision of the Centre to take a step towards building a 1,840-km freight corridor from Ludhiana to Kolkata after the World Bank agreed to provide Rs 4,135 crore for the project on Wednesday.
The corridor would give a major impetus to the industry and solve the major problem of transportation that is, at present, plagued by delays and unreliability. This adds to cost and eats into profitability.
A major advantage of the freight corridor is that a goods train would be able to reach their destination within three-four days, adding to efficient businesses of the entire state.
A large number of hosiery goods, cycle parts and other manufactured items are sent to the eastern part of the country. The major input that is needed for the industry in Ludhiana was steel.
Federation of Industrial and Commercial Organization (FICO) president Gurmeet Singh Kular said, “With the World Bank move, we are happy and hope that required work starts as soon as possible.”
National Productivity Council vice-chairman Badish Jindal said the government would have struggled to raise the amount required for the corridor. “As there is no provision to build a freight corridor by a private company, the World Bank was the only hope. Now, formalities like finalising the freight station in Ludhiana should be the next step,” he said, adding that corridor would benefit importers as well as exporters.
Initially, the government has planned that the corridor needed to be built in Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode.
Benefits of the project
The Eastern Corridor (Ludhiana-Kolkata) is 1,840-km and extends from Ludhiana to Kolkata
The loan approved on Wednesday will build the 401-km long Ludhiana-Khurja section in Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab
The project will help increase the capacity of these freight-only lines enable speeds of up to 100 km/hr