New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday inaugurated the 306-km Rewari-Madar section of the Western Dedicated Freight Corridor section and said the modern freight corridor is a "game changer" for India in the 21st century and it will prove to be a corridor for the rapid development of the country.
Modi also virtually flagged off the world's first Double Stack Long Haul 1.5 km 'Container Train' between Haryana's new Ateli and Rajasthan's New Kishangarh.
The event was also attended by Rajasthan Governor Kalraj Mishra, Haryana Governor Satydev Narayan Arya, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, his deputy Dushyant Chautala, Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, and several others.
Japanese Ambassador to India Satoshi Suzuki also attended the programme.
Speaking on the occasion, Modi said, "The Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) project is being seen as a game changer in the 21st century for India. A big chunk of the project has been dedicated to the nation."
The Prime Minister said the speed of the goods and freight trains has reached 90 kmh as compared to 25 kmh, which is thrice more than earlier.
Speaking about the double stack freight train which he flagged off, Modi said, "Today from Haryana's New Ateli and Rajasthan's New Kishangarh, a new double stack 1.5 km-long goods train has been flagged off. This is a big achievement. India is one of the few countries which has such a facility."
He also hailed the engineers, labourers, and railway officials for their role. He emphasised that the day is important for the farmers and businessman as this project has brought new hopes and opportunities for them.
"Whether it is the Eastern or Western DFC, this is not only for modern freight trains and advanced freight route, but this is a corridor for the rapid development of the country and it will become the foundation for the new growth centre," Modi said.
Modi pointed out that the newly-inaugurated EDFC corridor has proved to be the new development centre and has started showing its results.
"Same work will be done by WDFC in Haryana, Rajasthan and Maharashtra. This corridor will prove a milestone for the businesses in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Haryana and Rajasthan," he said.
The Prime Minister also said that a new pace has been achieved for making the infrastructure of the country modern and advanced.
He said that in the last 10-12 days, through digital transaction Rs 18,000 crore was transferred in over nine crore farmers' bank accounts, and foundation stone was laid for an AIIMS in Rajkot, Gujarat and for a new IIM in Odisha besides many other works.
"When the beginning of the year is good, then the coming days will be much better. The number of inaugurations and new foundation laying is important because India has done all these during the Covid pandemic. India also approved two Made-in-India Covid vaccines and has brought self confidence," he said.
He said that from the beginning of 2021, it will provide pace for Aatmanirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India).
"And the people of India will feel proud of these achievements. Today every Indian has given a call that we will not stop and not get tired, and we will work together with more pace," he said.
Modi also stressed that the modern infrastructure gives pace to the economy.
The Prime Minister also hailed Japan's role in the construction of Dedicated Freight Corridor and said, "Throughout India's development journey, Japan and its people have stood by us like a trustworthy friend."
"In the construction of the Western Dedicated Freight Corridor as well, Japan provided us with financial and technological assistance. I thank Japan and its people," Modi said.
He had inaugurated the Khurja-Bhaupur section of EDFC on December 29 last year. The Dedicated Freight Corridor is one of the largest rail infrastructure projects undertaken by the government, entailing a cost of around Rs 81,459 crore.
The Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Limited (DFCCIL) has been set up as a Special Purpose Vehicle to plan, develop, mobilise financial resources, construct, maintain and operate the DFCs.
In the first phase, the organisation will construct the Western DFC (1,504 kms) and Eastern DFC (1,856 kms), a total of 3,360 kms.
According to railway ministry officials, to make India a five-trillion-dollar economy it is essential to develop transport networks at a fast pace. Development of transport infrastructure will give a major fillip for the growth of industries, commerce, export and import and agriculture.
The newly-inaugurated section falls in Haryana for 79 kms covering districts of Mahendragarh and Rewari with 227 kms in Rajasthan covering districts like Jaipur, Ajmer, Sikar, Nagaur and Alwar.
According to the railway ministry officials, 40 per cent of the WDFC section falls in Rajasthan. In the newly-inaugurated 306 km section of the WDFC there are nine new DFC stations, six crossing stations -- New Dabla, New Bhagega, New Sri Madhopur, New Pachar Malikpur, New Sakun and New Kishangarh and three junction stations -- New Rewari, New Ateli and New Phulera.
The total value of contracts including civil, electrical and S&T is estimated to be at Rs 5,800 crore in this section excluding land.
According to railways, the opening of this stretch will benefit various industries in Rewari-Manesar, Narnaul, Phulera and Kishangarh areas of Rajasthan, Haryana and Delhi-National Capital Region (NCR).
The railway officials said that the ports of Gujarat like Kandla, Pipavav, Mundhra, and Dahej will have uninterrupted connectivity to the northern parts of India.
The officials said that DFCCIL will run freight trains at a maximum speed of 100 kmh as against the current maximum speed of 75 kmh on Indian Railway tracks whereas the average speed of freight trains will also be increased from existing speed of 26 kmh to 70 kmh on DFC.