New Delhi: To stop delays in project completion, the Indian Railways has decided that no new lines will be built without completion of land acquisition, officials said.

A railway official told IANS that the decision was taken a meeting last week and a letter was sent to the General Managers of all railway zones on October 30.

A copy of the letter accessed by IANS reads: "The (Railway) Board has decided that issue of tenders or commencement of physical work for new line projects shall be taken up only after completion of land acquisition."

The new policy also directed the General Managers "to invite tenders if they are reasonably certain of the possibility of land acquisition in a time frame".

"A written assurance from the state government in this regard can be considered by the GM," the policy guideline.

"For the purpose of execution, large projects can be divided into phases by GMs, however, after ensuring that each phase on completion yields commercial returns for railways," it added.

The policy also said that the projects where local support or state support is not forthcoming resulting in poor or no progress as well as old projects that have not made any headway or projects that are unlikely to give any tangible benefits to the railways would need to be continuously reviewed.

The board also said that this new policy will be followed in case of new projects or old projects where tenders have not yet been finalised.