Cabinet nod for rail infra projects worth Rs 10,736 cr

New Delhi: Railway projects worth Rs 10,736 crore were cleared by the government today for improving infrastructure in various states, including Odisha, Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat.

The projects, including three for doubling of existing rail lines and two for laying a third rail line on busy routes, were cleared by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) at its meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said, “I am happy to say that the CCEA has approved projects worth Rs 10,736 crore for doubling and tripling (of railway lines). There are a total of five new projects, three doubling projects for 763 kms and two third line projects for 514 kms.

He said the CCEA granted approval for the Vizianagaram and Titlagarh third line project at an estimated cost of Rs 2,335.68 crore. The length of the railway line will be 264.6 kms. The completion period of the project will be five years.

The third line is an alternative route to the over-burdened existing line and this link will also open an alternative route to oversaturated Kharagpur Jharsuguda section Howrah-Mumbai Grand Trunk Route and Howrah-Chennai section main line of East Coast Railways.

Rayagada and Kalahandi districts of Odisha and Vizianagaram and Babbili districts of Andhra Pradesh will benefit from this project.

The section is oversaturated with present capacity utilisation of 106 per cent and there is a huge detention to rolling stock.

The Bina-Katni third line project under West Central Railway (WCR) was also approved at an estimated cost of Rs 2,478.23 crore and expected completion cost of Rs 2,917.06 crore in five years. The line will be 278.7 kms long.

Besides facilitating passenger travel, the thermal power plants in the area will get a third line for transportation.

It will also greatly ease the ever-increasing freight traffic between Bina-Katni section increasing the railways’ earnings. Sagar, Damoh and Katni districts of Madhya Pradesh will benefit from this project, the ministry said.

The Bina-Katni is critical and busy section of WCR serving coal rakes for thermal power plants at Chhabra Gugur and Jhalawar in Rajasthan and paints, oils and lubricants (POL) traffic for Mahadevkhedi in Madhya Pradesh. At present, the capacity utilisation of the section is 136 per cent, the statement said.

Asked if the approved projects had been accounted for in the Rail Budget, Prabhu said, “Most of them are a mix, but some projects mentioned are with trans-budgetary support and some with extra-budgetary support.”

The completion of these projects, he said, will be between three to five years but the time limits given are outer limits and the government will be able to complete the projects earlier.