New Delhi: Indian Railways has set a daily target of laying 9.5 km of tracks to complete its ambitious line doubling and capacity expansion projects earmarked for the next financial year.
The railway ministry is importing US-made track-laying machines that can lay around 1.5 km of tracks per day as against the 100 meters of tracks the railways lays manually on an average.
The railway ministry has set aside a fund of around Rs 35,000 crore to undertake these works which include construction of new lines, gauge conversion and doubling of capacity.
Of the total budget, around Rs 10,000 crore will be spent on construction of railway lines of dedicated freight corridors that will connect Delhi to Jawaharlal Nehru Port in Mumbai and Ludhiana in Punjab to Dankuni in West Bengal.
“The US made new track laying machines being manufactured by Harsco will be used majorly across India from now on.
“We have the target of delivering 9.5 km every day. It is for the first time that the railways will be working on such a deadline,” a senior railway ministry official said.
For the next financial year, the total track laying target has been set at 3,500 km whereas the track electrification target has been set at 4,000 km.
The target is significantly higher than the current one, where railway is constructing around 2,000 km of new tracks.
Railway minister Suresh Prabhu has also instructed all his officials to wind up the long pending projects on priority basis. The ministry has already sent instructions to zonal railways.
The railway ministry plans to spend `1.31 lakh crore — the highest-ever for capacity expansion — in the next financial year. It has received `55,000 crore from the finance ministry as gross budgetary support.
“We have been told to move to the project-based funding model where all existing projects are to be provided funds immediately so that they are not delayed any more,” the official said.
The ministry is also going to undertake major track renewal works to make the railway network safer in the wake of the recent train derailment cases.
“Around 3,600 km of track renewal will also be taken in the next year,” the official said.
Source: The Economic Times