Indian Railways Unveils Rs 2 Lakh Crore Plan For Three New Dedicated Freight Corridors Spanning 4,300 Km 

In a significant change to the national logistics infrastructure, Indian Railways is considering plans to build three additional dedicated freight corridors. The objective of these corridors is to increase passenger train services to reduce congestion on the existing tracks and to speed up freight movement.

With an estimated project cost of Rs 2,00,000 crore, these corridors will cover a combined distance of 4,300 kilometers and will transport specific products to key regions across the country.

On 12 December 2020, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the DFC network, saying that it will lead India towards rapid development in the 21st century.

The Plan of Indian Railway is strategically linked to the DFC project, which sets a bold objective: to increase the modal share of railways in India to a significant 44 percent by 2051 from the current 28 percent.

DFC is not just a railway project; The main goal of the National Logistics Policy is to reduce logistics costs to a more sustainable 8 percent by 2030, from the current 15 percent.

North-South Freight Corridor

The 1,000 to 1,200 km North-South corridor will be built from Itarsi in Madhya Pradesh to Tenali in Andhra Pradesh to strengthen connectivity in the four states of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. In the future, it is planned to be integrated with existing freight corridors, which will transport coal, cement, fertilizers, and petroleum products.

East Coast Freight Corridor

The East Coast Freight Corridor aims to optimize freight transportation with mineral-rich states like Bengal and Odisha. It stretches for about 1,200 kilometers from Kharagpur, West Bengal to Tenali, Andhra Pradesh. Earlier it was targeted to terminate at Vizag port, but extending the route to Tenali will provide greater connectivity, especially benefitting industries related to coal, fertilizer, and iron ore.

East-West Freight Corridor

Plans are also underway for an East-West corridor connecting Andal in West Bengal to Palgarh, Maharashtra via five states. The corridor aims to regulate the transportation of coal, iron ore, steel, and other critical materials across the region, spanning approximately 2,100 kilometers and with an additional 300 kilometers of spur lines.

BusinessLine reported that Dedicated Freight Corridors of India Limited (DFCCIL) is currently making all three network alignment reports; Two reports have been sent and the third is due to be completed by the end of this month.

Railway officials pointed out the importance of these corridors in optimizing freight movement, enhancing port connectivity, and facilitating economic growth in various regions.

Final decisions regarding funding, alignment, and project execution are pending, subject to further discussion in the Ministry of Railways.

These dedicated freight corridor projects will not only unleash economic potential but also play a vital role in decongesting the already saturated road network. These corridors will significantly reduce congestion on highways, as they will shift freight transportation to a more efficient rail transportation system.

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