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Blog Entry# 2980043
Posted: Jan 08 2018 (02:03)

9 Responses
Last Response: Jan 17 2018 (10:34)
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Jan 08 2018 (01:43)   India's 'longest-pending rail project' finally back on track

16591🔹Hampi Express🔹16592^~   3048 news posts
Entry# 2980043   News Entry# 326436         Tags   Past Edits
The country has seen 16 governments and 38 railway ministers in its 70 years of Independence, but the most ill-fated rail project between Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand has failed to see the light of the day.
The 182-km-long Chirimiri-Barwadih corridor project, sanctioned in 1947, has earned the dubious distinction of being the longest pending rail project in the country.
But after decades of neglect, the Narendra Modi government has set the ball rolling. Well-placed sources said the initial cost estimate of a few crores has now skyrocketed to more than Rs 3,000 crore. Railway
minister Piyush Goyal has ordered a fresh feasibility and financial viability study for the project.
The finance ministry has also sanctioned Rs 5 crore for the same, sources said.
The study will be conducted by the Chhattisgarh Railway Corporation Limited, a joint venture between the Chhattisgarh government and the railway ministry.
The rail corridor lies on the border of Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand. Railway officials said this is a rich coal belt and the project was sanctioned essentially for transportation of coal and bauxite that are present in abundance in the region.
They said the rail line between Chirimiri (Chhattisgarh) and Barwadih (Jharkhand) will also reduce the distance between Mumbai and Howrah via Jabalpur by about 400 km.
The corridor will also cater to nearly 20 lakh population residing along the corridor. Out of total project length of 182 km, 77 km falls in Jharkhand and remaining 105 km falls in Chhattisgarh.
Railway minister Piyush Goyal told the Parliament that after being sanctioned in 1947, the only expenditure incurred on the project was in the form of fresh studies and its updating. "The Chhattisgarh Railway Corporation Limited has identified this project as a potential project for further development and has awarded a consultancy contract in November 2017 for assessment of economic viability and feasibility of the new line project. Sanction of project will be based on feasibility study being conducted by Chhattisgarh Railway Corporation Ltd."
Sources said the project was started by first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in 1947-48 but owing to financial stringency, the work was stopped.
Later in the 1960s, the work resumed on the initiative of the then railway minister Babu Jagjivan Ram but only to be stopped after the India-China war of 1962.
Seeking speedy execution of the project, the locals had even held a massive hunger strike that lasted for over 400 days. Sources in the railway ministry said the government has identified a number of pending projects for speedy execution.
According to the latest report of the ministry of statistics and programme implementation, a total of 202 pending rail projects have resulted in cost overrun to the tune of Rs 1.5 lakh crore.
Also, railway projects account for over 60 per cent of the 331 central sector projects that are facing inordinate delays.
The statistics ministry monitors central sector projects envisaging the expenditure of Rs 150 crore and above each on regular basis.
According to the report, the total original cost of these 202 rail projects was Rs 1.05 lakh crore but the total anticipated cost of these projects at present is estimated at Rs 2.55 lakh crore which indicates overall cost escalation by 142 per cent.
In July 2017, the ministry monitored 350 projects of Indian Railways that have been delayed due to various reasons.
This includes a project dating back to 1983 in West Bengal that is still languishing and whose cost has escalated from Rs 36.80 crore to Rs 1,336.57 crore.
This project entails converting the existing rail line between Eklahi and Balurghat in West Bengal to broad gauge.
Official said the major reasons for time overruns are delays on account of land acquisition, obtaining forest and environmental clearances, tie-ups of project financing and delays in tendering, ordering and equipment supply.
However, the railway ministry has started rigorous project appraisals, the use of online monitoring systems including those by satellites and drones for better monitoring and fixing responsibility for time and cost overruns.

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