Mumbai: The government has given its in-principle approval to a dedicated multi-modal high axle load freight corridor connecting the country''s northern hinterland to ports on the East and West coasts.
Together, the two freight corridors would involve investment of over Rs28,180 crore.
"The cabinet committee on economic affairs (CCEA) gave its in-principle approval to the dedicated multi-modal high axle load freight corridor on eastern corridor and western corridor at an estimated cost of Rs28,181 crore," finance minister P Chidambaram said.
The eastern corridor would entail an expenditure of around Rs11,859 crore and the western corridor would cost about Rs16,592 crore, he said.
The project is expected to be completed in five years. "The whole corridor will have a computerised train control system. On eastern side, the corridor will be from Ludhiana and Sonnagar, and on the western side the corridor will connect Jawaharlal Nehru Port near Mumbai to Tughlakabad and Dadri near Delhi," the finance minister said.
According to the finance minister, the project has immense benefits for ports, exporters, importers, shipping lines and container operators on the western corridor, and for coal companies, steel plants and thermal power stations on the eastern corridor. He added that these will provide much needed rail infrastructure for the growth of the Indian economy, and will boost export-import trade. The project will also generate indirect employment during construction phase.
The eastern corridor, as approved by the CCEA on 21 February last year, would begin at Ludhiana and terminate at Sonnagar via Ambala, Saharanpur, Khurja and Allahabad.
However, in view of a representation from the government of West Bengal, and considering the possibility of an increase in freight traffic on account of the proposed deep sea port, the eastern corridor could be extended up to the proposed port in Kolkata area.
RITES is conducting a pre-feasibility study of Sonnagar-Kolkata portion of the eastern corridor. CCEA will be approached for the approval of extension project after completion of the study.