The Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor (EDFC), extending from Ludhiana in Punjab to Kolkota in West Bengal and currently under execution, received a monetary push today.
The Indian government and the World Bank signed a $650 million agreement towards the third loan for the freight corridor (a freight-only rail line), that will help faster and more efficient movement of raw materials and finished goods between the north and eastern parts of India. The project was approved by the World Bank Board on June 30, 2015.
The loan and guarantee agreement for the EDFC was signed by Raj Kumar, joint secretary at the ministry of finance, on behalf of the Government of India – M.K.Mittal, Director of finance, Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation (DFCCIL) and Hisham Abdo, operations manager and acting country director of the World Bank India.
The eastern corridor is 1,840 km long. The World Bank is supporting the EDFC as a series of projects in which the three sections with a total route length of 1,193 km will be delivered sequentially, but with considerable overlap in their construction schedules.
“The objective of the EDFC project is to augment railway freight carrying capacity along the Railway Corridor between Ludhiana and Kolkata. The project will benefit industries of Northern and Eastern India, which rely on railway network for transportation of material inputs and exports that would accelerate creation of jobs in the northern and eastern regions of the country,” said Raj Kumar.
“Implementing the DFC program will provide India the opportunity to create one of the world’s largest freight operations. The corridor, which will pass through states like Uttar Pradesh, will benefit from the new rail infrastructure, bringing jobs and much-needed development to some of India’s poorest regions,” said Hisham Abdo. “Moving freight from road to rail will reduce the carbon footprint of freight,” he added.
The EDFC is part of India’s first Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) initiative – being built on two main routes – the western and the eastern Corridors. These corridors will help India make a quantum leap in increasing the transportation capacity of the railways by building high-capacity, higher-speed dedicated freight corridors along the Golden Quadrilateral.
“The Indian Railways urgently needs to add freight routes to meet the growing traffic in India, which is projected to increase more than 7 percent annually. These freight lines will wholly transform the capacity, productivity, and service performance of India’s busiest rail freight corridors. Upon completion, it will be able to more than double its capacity to carry freight, in addition to being faster, cheaper and more reliable,” said Ben L. J. Eijbergen, program leader for the project.