DFC: Decongesting Indian Railways
Touted as the next big thing for rail logistics, the Dedicated Freight Corridor project (DFC) is fraught with challenges. With a budget of a whopping ` 80,000 crore to decongest the Indian Railways route, the DFC would take over almost 70 per cent of the
kind of impact will the Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) have on Indian Railways?
The Golden Quadrilateral and its diagonals constitute 16 per cent of the total route length of the Indian Railways network but carry 58 per cent of the total freight traffic. The lines are heavily saturated.
The Eastern and Western Dedicated Freight Corridors constitute 22 per cent of the total Indian Railways traffic and 38 per cent of traffic on Golden Quadrilateral. Upon its completion, a major proportion of the freight traffic of Indian Railways will be diverted to DFC which is why it is being touted as a game changer for the logistics scenario.
The average speed is expected to be 70 kmph, more than double from the existing 25 kmph, which will bring a reduction in transit time. As of today, freight transportation between Delhi and Mumbai takes two to three days by railways; whereas by road, it takes more than three days. The DFC will deliver the freight in just 20 hours.
The unit cost of transport would reduce by 40 per cent. DFC routes are constructed with double lines and have automatic signalling. So more than 150 trains can be run in each direction. The studies conducted by World Bank and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) forecast a traffic level of 264 MT for Eastern DFC and 284 MT for Western DFC over a period of 20 years. There are industrial corridors coming up along the Eastern DFC and Western DFC.
is the current status of the project?
DFC is one of the largest infrastructure projects undertaken by Indian Railways, with a total cost of $16 bn and a funding arrangement from World Bank for Eastern Corridor and from JICA for Western Corridor. The project is spread over a length of 3,350 km with more than three lakh Project Affected Persons. DFCC has been able to acquire 84 per cent of the land and is pursuing for acquisition of the remaining 16 per cent. The civil work on the Eastern DFC has com- menced. The total length is 464 km - from Khurja to Bhaupur (342 km) and Mughalsarai to Son Nagar (122 km). Further contracts for section between Bhaupur to Mughal Sarai, measuring a length of 402 km, were awarded in March 2015. The Eastern Corridor civil works will have physically progressing by almost 66 per cent.
Also, it has further been planned to award 80 per cent of the contracts by March 2016 and the rest 20 per cent by June 2016. Thereafter, the work will progress in the entire Eastern DFC between Ludhiana to Son Nagar.
The civil work on the Western DFC is already in progress between Rewari to Iqbalgarh, having a length of 675 km (40 per cent of the section). Further, contracts for civil work between Vadodara and Vaitarna (320 km) were awarded in May 2015. The Western Corridor civil works will have physically progressing by 64 per cent. Electrical, signal and telecom contracts from Rewari to Vadodara (950 km) have also been awarded.
For the balance portion of Western Corridor, the tenders are being processed and the plan is to fix all the contracts during 2015-16. The progress of work has improved tenfold in Rewari-Iqbalgarh and three-fold in the Khurja-Kanpur section.
when do you expect the operations to begin?
The timeline for completion of the Eastern Corridor has been fixed for December 2019. We have planned to commission the project in a phased manner in 2018-19. Similarly, for the Western Corridor, the commissioning will be in phases with RewariIqbalgarh stretch by December 2018 and the balance portion by December 2019.
you elaborate on the multimodal logistics parks and private freight terminals to be developed on the DFCCI route?
The business policy of DFCCIL is to provide connectivity to private freight terminals, private sidings and ports wherever feasible. Steps have been taken to develop Multi-Modal Logistics Parks (MMLPs) also and one MoU has also been signed with Inland Waterways Authority of India to develop a multimodal terminal near Varanasi involving waterways, roadways and railways. Business models are being evolved for development of MMLPs at various locations and feasibility studies have been completed for the areas near Sanand (near Ahmedabad), Kanpur.
kind of cargo is expected to be diverted to the DFC?
Adesh Sharma Managing Director, Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India (DFCCI)