After a delay of around 2 years, Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Limited (DFCC) has finally awarded its first major contract of about Rs 3,300 crore to Tata–ALDESA joint venture (JV) for construction of 343 kilometre double track line between Kanpur and Khurja.
The World Bank has funded $975 million for this stretch which is a Design-Build lump sum contract that requires execution of the work within a time frame of 4 years, according to a statement issued by DFCC.
With the railways pushing in for more and more passenger trains on existing railway track every year, dedicated freight network is a key infrastructure project for Indian railways as it will segregate the passenger network from freight network.
According to the statement issued by DFCC, “TATA-ALDESA JV comprising of TATA Projects India and ALDESA of Spain won the contract from among 10 other bidders through an international competitive bidding process.”China Railway First Group, a part of state owned China Railway Engineering Corporation, in consortium with Soma, Tata-Aldesa, IVRCL-KMB, Essar-Patel-BSCPL are among 10 who have put in bids for building Khurja-Bhaupur (343 km).
The DFC is meant to sustain 1.5 km of train length and a 100 kmph speed with a load of 15,000 tonnes. As against the norm of a 22.5-tonne axle load on the existing network, that on DFCC will be 32.5 or 25 tonnes, comparable to the standard in America, Russia and China.
Explaining the bidding process, the release issued by DFCC said: DFCCIL adopted a three-stage bidding process wherein international bidders were given the opportunity to submit alternative technologies available for construction of heavy haul track.
The bidding process also adopted a slice and package approach wherein entire section was split into three slices. Although separate eligibility criteria was set up on per slice basis, bidders were evaluated in terms of their technical capacity and financial capability for undertaking the number of slices and/or to take on the entire work as well.
The 1,800 km stretch of Eastern Corridor starting from Ludhiana in Panjab till Dankuni in West Bengal required land acquisition of around 2,000 hectare. More than 90% of the land has been acquired, said a senior DFCC official.
Eighty% of the entire alignment of the Eastern Corridor is parallel to the existing railway track. However, the alignment takes a detour to skirt busy towns/cities and other inhabited areas, wildlife sanctuaries and forest areas. The major detour alignment on the Eastern Corridor is at the Gurpa Gujandi Ghat Section, Gaya, Allahabad, Kanpur, Aligarh, Meerut and Tundla.
The Indian railways’ quadrilateral of dedicated freight corridor linking the four cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Howrah (Kolkata), and its two diagonals (Delhi-Chennai and Mumbai-Howrah), add to a route length of 10,122 km. This carries 55% of revenue earning freight traffic. The existing trunk routes of Howrah-Delhi on the Eastern Corridor and Mumbai-Delhi on the western one are saturated, with line capacity utilisation between 115% and 150%.