The Indian Railways would be funding ongoing projects of national importance, especially those aimed at reducing congestion, on priority basis in order to speed up their construction. The national transporter has decided to disburse budgetary grants in full to projects nearing completion and will partially fund those in the initial stages.
V K Yadav, chairman, Railway Board, said this is being to expedite the construction of projects that are critical for reducing congestion. Of the 58 identified projects for reducing congestion, eight have been commissioned and seven were completed in the current financial year.
The railways had a budgetary allocation of Rs 70,000 crore and an outlay for capital expenditure amounting to Rs 1.61 trillion for 2020-21.
“The average outlay for around 89 per cent of the projects is Rs 140 crore for each. For the remaining 11 per cent the average outlay was Rs 1,000 crore. The maximum outlay is Rs 3,800 crore for the 272-km Udhampur-Baramulla rail line (UBRL),” Yadav said.
He said the UBRL project is expected to conclude by June 2022. The UBRL project is being directly monitored by the Prime Minister’s Office for its faster completion. Its commissioning was earlier targeted for 2020, but the project got delayed.
The 272-km Udhampur-Baramulla rail line has a nearly 111-km stretch between Katra and Banihal which is incomplete. It has an outlay fo Rs 21,653 crore. The railway ministry officials said 161 km amounting to Rs 6,000 crore is complete which includes 97-km of tunnel. The project will also have a 359-meter high bridge on Chenab, which the officials claim would be taller than Eiffel Tower (324 m).
The Chenab rail bridge, estimated to cost Rs 1,250-crore, will be the gateway of the Valley, connecting it with the rest of the country and helping in faster movement of security forces, as well as finished products.
There are four more projects o national importance which would be completed in next three years. This includes 51-km Sairang-Baibali broad gauge line in Mizoram costing Rs 5,021 crore, 83 km Dimapur-Kohima costing Rs 12,524 crore and 44 km long Sivok-Rangpo rail line in Sikkim with estimated cost of Rs 4,000 crore.
Yadav said the enhanced focus of the Railways on infrastructure creation in recent years has borne results. Commissioning of rail line saw a jump of 173 per cent to 13,124 km between 2014-19 from 7,599 km between during 2009-2014. He said the average commissioning also doubled to 7.19 km per day during 2014-19.