Tenders for Eastern Freight Corridor to be over by April 2016: Prabhu

Kolkata, Aug 21 (IANS) The entire tendering process for the Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor will be completed latest by April 2016, Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu said here on Friday.

“In the coming 7-8 months, we will complete the entire tendering process and we will try to complete this project before 2019. All of this must happen in a transparent way,” Prabhu said at an event organised by the Bharat Chamber of Commerce.

The minister has pegged the revised estimate of the 3360-km-long track project at Rs.82,000 crore, out of which tenders worth Rs. 15,000 crore have already been issued.

The corridor once completed will not only generate additional revenue for railway, but will also increase its freight handling capacity from 1 billion tonne to 1.5 billion tonne.

The railways is expected to make a 56 km stretch between Durgauti and Sasaram in Bihar operational by March 2016. The Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) in east will cover a total stretch of 1,856 km while the western DFC will be built on a 1,504 km long track.

The minister highlighted the need for railways to increase its scope of maximizing revenue and cited the central public sector undertakings as potential clients.

Prabhu said companies like Coal India and Steel Authority of India are looking for evacuation facilities which the Indian Railways can execute.

“We will execute the project and get revenues,” he said.

Coal transportation is the major revenue earner for railways.

“Two-thirds of the revenue comes from freight – of that 50 percent is coal and the rest 1/3 comes from fares,” Prabhu said.

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