New Delhi: Indian Railway will lay 7 km of tracks every day in 2016-17 as against an average of 4.3 km per day in the last six years, as part of its capacity augmentation plan.
The drive is expected to gather further pace in 2017-18 when rails will be laid in about 13 km every day. The bar will be raised further in 2018-19 to 19 km per day, according to an action plan formulated by the public sector behemoth to bolster rail network, Railway Ministry sources said.
Laying new tracks, replacing old ones and doubling and tripling of lines are essential to clearing the traffic bottlenecks, said a senior Railway Ministry official.
Traffic congestion is becoming a bane for freight movement, railways' major source of earning, with goods trains not getting path on priority basis.
Railways is poised to surpass the ambitious target of commissioning 2,500 km broad gauge lines in the current fiscal, 30 per cent more than the last year. According to the official, 2,800 km of tracks will be commissioned next year.
In order to augment freight traffic, there will be three new Dedicated Freight Corridors (DFC) to ensure speedy movement of goods. While North-South DFC is being planned to connect Delhi to Chennai, East-West DFC will link Kharagpur with Mumbai and East Coast DFC will connect Kharagpur to Vijayawada.
These three additional DFC will be funded through innovative financing mechanism including PPP. Railways has already done a feasibility study for these three corridors.
Currently, work is going on Western and Eastern DFC. While Western corridor is being funded by Japan, the Eastern is World Bank funded. Both Western and Eastern corridors will be electrified routes. The public transporter is currently laying tracks in 3,342 km in Eastern and Western DFC involving an expenditure of Rs 81,459 crore.
Railways will form a special purpose vehicle for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad high-speed corridor that will be executed with Japanese cooperation. The project will bring new technology for the country.
Railway's share in loadings is expected to go up to 45 per cent from the current 36 per cent with the commissioning of the DFCs.
Sources said the 56 km-long track between Sasaram and Durgavati on the Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor is going to be commissioned soon after safety clearance.