Dedicated Freight Corridor Projects Pick Up Speed

Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) of Indian Railways is gathering speed. Constant weekly monitoring and meetings with all stake holders lead to acquisition of patches and sections of land which were long delayed. Indian Railways even deployed its experts to assist the contractors to tide over operational difficulties at ground level implementation.

Minister of Railways and Commerce & Industry Shri Piyush Goyal held a review meeting with Chief Secretaries of State Government to expedite the progress & resolve critical issues of Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC). The Minister also wrote letters to Chief Ministers of Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Bihar, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra in this regard. Minister of Railways and Commerce & Industry Shri Piyush Goyal has been holding review meetings with Dedicated Freight Corridor contractors to resolve their problems and issues.

Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Railway Board Shri Vinod Kumar Yadav also wrote letters to Chief Secretaries of State Governments and General Managers of Zonal Railways to expedite the progress and resolve critical issues. Shri Yadav also held a meeting with Dedicated Freight Corridor contractors to resolve their problems and issues.

In the last week more than 20 meetings (contract package wise) held with respective field officials of L&T, PMC, TATA and DFC Officials. Various issues discussed in the meeting and resolved and timelines given.

Dashboard is being created to monitor km by km progress of project. Open house video conferencing also started on daily basis to resolve critical issues of States Governments/Zonal Railways/Contractors on real time basis.

 Resolving contractors’ problems in project interest during last one week is as under-

  • Up to date payment to contractors as COVID-19 relief under GCC clause
  • Simplification of GST payment process
  • Railway supervisors provided to private contractors to get things moving at the ground level

Various issues like land possession for RUB/ROB, mutation of land, land issue for construction of high-tension line, disbursement for private land, award for land as per original methodology etc. also resolved with State Governments of Punjab, Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat in last one week to expedite the progress of Dedicated Freight Corridor.

States expedite work on freight corridor

Following union railway minister Piyush Goyal’s letter to the chief ministers of nine states seeking to remove bottlenecks which have hampered work on the Rs 81,000 crore dedicated freight corridor project, several states have expedited land acquisition clearances and deployed police in areas where issues of law and order were holding up work.

According to officials aware of the development land acquisition clearances have been provided in the past week by states including Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Gujarat.

Following concerns raised by the Prime Minister’s Office over delays in the completion of the Dedicated Freight Corridors (DFC), one of the largest rail infrastructure projects, Railways cited “poor progress of work” by contractors and raised concerns over law and order in Uttar Pradesh and delays in construction by Gujarat, Haryana and Punjab governments, Hindustan Times reported on August 26.

Railways identified delays in both the Eastern and Western dedicated freight corridors and revised the deadline for completion to June 2022 from its earlier target of December 2021.

“In Bihar’s Rohtas district, a detailed review was done by the DM (District Magistrate), and three teams have been formed to expedite payment and physical possession. Deployment of police at two road over bridge (ROBs) has been approved. Police force have also been deployed in Aurangabad,” one of the officials said.

On August 26, Goyal wrote to the chief ministers of nine states including Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Punjab, West Bengal, Haryana, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Jharkhand, highlighting how the dedicated freight corridor has been facing “long-pending issues” that remain “unresolved”. Goyal flagged issues such as land acquisition, pending arbitrations, demands from local residents, and the slow pace of work by state authorities.

The Centre has also agreed to the Punjab government’s demand for borrowing money from Railways’ project implementing arm the Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Limited (DFCCIL) for construction of ROBs.

DFCCIL, in an internal report, cited slow progress of ROB approaches by Uttar Pradesh (total 46 ROBs out of which only 3 have been completed). It has also pointed to law and order issues in Meerut, Muzzafarnagar and Saharanpur District as an area of concern for the delay in the Eastern corridor. And it highlighted slow progress in construction of ROBs in Haryana and Punjab.

In the Western Corridor, DFCCIL mentioned slow progress by the Gujarat government citing “slow acquisition of land for approaches”.

In his letter to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Goyal highlighted a slew of problems including pending road over bridges, obstruction to physical possession of land in areas such as Muzaffarnagar, Meerut and Saharanpur among others due to agitation, arbitration, demand for compensation and jobs by villagers, and undue demand of lease rent by the Uttar Pradesh Forest Department.

In a letter to Bihar CM Nitish Kumar, the minister raised concerns over land acquisition in certain stretches due to long delays in the disbursal of awards.

“Constant weekly monitoring and meetings with all stake holders lead to acquisition of patches and sections of land which were long delayed. Railway minister Piyush Goyal held a review meeting with Chief Secretaries of State Governments to expedite the progress and resolve critical issues of Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC).,” the railway ministry said yesterday (Monday, 7th September 2020).