New Delhi: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday announced a record sum of Rs 1,10,055 crore for Indian Railways of which Rs 1,07,100 crore is for the capital expenditure. She said the national transporter will monetise the Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) asset after commissioning.
Presenting the Union Budget 2021-22, Sitharaman said, "I am announcing a record sum of Rs 1,10,055 crore for Railways of which Rs 1,07,100 crore is for capital expenditure only."
She said the Railways will monetise DFC assets, its operations and maintenance after its commissioning.
Talking about the railway infrastructure, the Finance Minister said, "Indian Railways have prepared a National Rail Plan for India 2030. The plan is to create a future ready railway system by 2030, bringing down the logistic cost for industry is at the core of the strategy to enable 'Make In India'."
She said that it is expected that the Eastern and Western Dedicated Freight corridor (EDFC and WDFC) will be commissioned by June 2022.
The DFC 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 DFC.
In the first phase, the organisation will construct the Western DFC (1,504 route km) and Eastern DFC (1,856 route km), a total of 3,360 route km.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the 306 km Rewari-Madar section of the Western Dedicated Freight Corridor on January 7 this year and 351 km Khurja-Bhaupur section of EDFC on December 29 last year.
Sitharaman said, "The following additional initiatives are also proposed. The Sonenagar-Gomoh section of 263 km on EDFC will be taken up in the PPP mode this year itself. Gomoh-Dankuni section of 274.3 km will also be taken up shortly in short succession."
She also said the Railways will take up the future dedicated freight corridor projects -- East Coast Corridor from Kharagpur to Vijayawada, East-West Corridor from Bhusawal to Kharagpur to Dankuni and North-South Corridor from Itarsi to Vijayawada.
She said the detailed project report (DPR) will be undertaken in the first phase.
Sitharaman also said that broad gauge route electrification is expected to reach 46,000 kms that is 72 per cent by the end of 2021 from 41,548 km from October 1, 2020.
"Hundred per cent electrification of the broad gauge routes will be completed by December 2023," she said.
Stressing on the passenger convenience and safety, she said that Railways will introduce the aesthetically designed vistadome LHB coach on tourist routes for better travel experience to the passengers.
"The safety measures taken in the last few years have borne results. To further strengthen this effort high density network and highly utilised network routes will be provided with indigenously designed automatic train collision system that eliminates train collision due to human error," the Finance Minister said.