Railway Line Expansion Programme Approved

Giving a big push to rail infrastructure, Union government approved a line expansion programme of about Rs 21,000 crores to facilitate smooth movement of freight and passenger trains in 11 states.

The Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave the green signal to create a capacity to carry 1.5 billion tonnes of goods by 2020.

The Union Cabinet approved the massive line expansion programme that includes nine projects of track construction for a total length of 1937.38 km at an estimated cost of Rs 20867.24 crore.

It is a huge capacity augmentation programme aiming at decongesting the main trunk routes for faster movement of coal, minerals, steel and other commodities and introduction of more mail and express trains.

These projects are urgently needed to meet the traffic requirement projected by Ministry of Coal, Steel and mines, other ministries and general growth in traffic which is aggregated to cross 1.5 billion Tonnes by 2020.

Envisaged to give big fillip in the transportation of coal, minerals, and steel sector, the expansion will benefit 11 States across Eastern, Western, Central, Northern and Southern India.

The programme aims to cater to the future traffic growth and will be a big help in removing capacity constraints and improving punctuality, he said. Since July 2015 till date 53 (out of 77) projects for a total length of 5019.11 kms costing Rs 48555.25 crore have been approved.

Third line/Fourth line projects approved are on North South and East West corridors on Golden quadrangle which is fully saturated. These lines play an important role in transportation of freight and passenger traffic from Eastern and Southern regions to Northern and Western regions and vice versa.

At present number of passenger and goods trains in this section are far more than its capacity, resulting in heavy detention to trains.

The nine projects include seven 3rd line, one 4th line and one doubling. These projects are essentially required for removing capacity constraints, reducing detention and to cater for traffic growth in future.

The projects would benefit Jharkhand, West Bengal, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Assam.