Cabinet clears seven railway projects worth Rs10,700 crore

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What : Approved seven new rail projects
Who : Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs
When : February 18,2016

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) approved seven new rail projects, including six railway lines and a railway bridge, together worthRs.10,700 crore, at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday.

The new rail lines are expected to benefit the industry and passengers in a big way—the economic survey last year noted that a Rs.1 increase in railway output increases the output in the economy by Rs.3.3 because of its multiplier effect.

The projects, which include double- and triple-laning of railway lines, will be undertaken with extra budgetary resources (institutional financing), said the government, refusing to disclose what these resources would be.

“I think we have a very competent government and a very competent minister. He knows how to raise extra budgetary resources,” telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told journalists after the cabinet meeting.

The projects will be completed during the 13th five year plan period, from 2017 to 2022.

Railway minister Suresh Prabhu said, “The total cost to complete the six projects comes to Rs.10,700 crore. It will be financed by extra-budgetary resources. These projects are largely in coal-rich areas, which will fetch us better freight revenue.”

The approved projects are good news, especially for Madhya Pradesh, because two of them help to connect the state’s coal belt.

These two projects, worth Rs.3,681 crore, include construction of a third railway line between Anuppur and Katni and doubling of the 261km Katni-Singrauli line.

The 132km Annupur-Katni line has been approved in anticipation of a surge in coal mining in the country and substantial additional coal traffic from IB Valley in Odisha, Korba in Chhattisgarh, East Corridor (runs from Ludhiana, Punjab to Dankuni, West Bengal) and Gevra Road-Pendra Road Project (Chhattisgarh) that will be channelized through this route to the respective destinations.

Doubling the 261km Katni-Singrauli railway line will extend coverage to the districts of Katni, Shahdol, Sidhi and Singrauli. It is a critical and busy section carrying coal from the northern coal fields to western and northern thermal power plants.

Among other projects are doubling of the 190km Hubli-Chickajur railway line connecting Chitradurga, Davangere, Haveri and Dharwad in Karnataka at a cost ofRs.1,294 crore; construction of a third railway line on the Wardha (Sewagram)-Ballarshah route in Maharashtra at a cost of Rs.1,444 crore; doubling of the 160km Ramna-Singrauli railway line
at a cost of Rs.2,675 crore, covering the states of Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh; and construction of an additional bridge and doubling project of the Rampur Dumra-Tal-Rajendrapul sector in Bihar at a cost of Rs.1,700 crore.

Asked about stuck rail projects in Tamil Nadu, railway minister Prabhu said, “The projects would be given a nod only when the state government agrees to form a joint venture company with the Indian Railways. As soon as they sign the MoU (memorandum of understanding), work on the railway project in Tamil Nadu would be initiated.”

Meanwhile, the Union cabinet on Wednesday also gave its approval to amend section 11 of the Delimitation Act, 2002 and section 9 of the Representation of the People Act, 1950 so as to carry out “limited delimitation” in Cooch Behar district of West Bengal.

This would included both parliamentary and assembly constituencies falling in the district. The delimitation was necessitated after the exchange of 51 Bangladeshi enclaves and 111 Indian enclaves last year.