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Monday, 13 Oct 2014
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Completing pending railway projects – A mammoth task

The Railway Ministry is likely to spend Rs 10,000 crore in four years to complete 30 high-priority railway projects. The Ministry wants to complete the pending railway projects first before allocating the railways’ limited resources to new projects. This, however, is a mammoth task given the time and cost overruns of these projects.


Completing pending railway projects – A mammoth task | ProjectsToday


Railway Minister, D V Sadananda Gowda, while presenting the rail budget on 8 July 2014, rued the fact that Indian Railway projects were suffering heavily because of time and cost overruns. As per the budget statement, in the last 30 years, as many as 676 projects, worth Rs 1,57,883 crore, were sanctioned. Of this, only 317 projects were completed and 359 projects with a bloated cost of Rs 1,82,000 crore remain to be completed.


The total project cost of the 30 high priority railway projects was estimated at Rs 20,000 crore. Nearly half the amount has been spent on the projects while the remaining will be provided over the next four years. A sum of Rs 2,259 crore has been set aside for these projects in the current fiscal year, i.e. 2014-15.


Major projects in the list include Lumding-Silchar gauge conversion project being implemented in Assam. The project is being executed by Northeast Frontier Railway and was first envisaged in 1996. However, since then the project has moved at snail’s pace. As of 3 September 2014, 90.59 per cent of the work on the project has been completed with an investment of Rs 5,185.44 crore.


Another project is the doubling of Daund-Gulbarga line worth Rs 1,514 crore. The project envisages doubling the 242 km railway line between Daund, in Pune district of Maharashtra and Gulbarga, in Karnataka. The project is being implemented by Rail Vikas Nigam since 2004.


As per the data available with ProjectsToday, railway projects worth Rs 7,08,479 crore are under various stages of implementation. Several of these projects were launched a decade ago, i.e. prior to October 2004, but are yet to be completed.


Mega projects among these include the Udhampur-Qazigund-Srinagar-Baramula BG railway line in Jammu & Kashmir. The foundation stone for the 273 km railway line was laid on 26 July, 1997. At that time, the project was estimated to cost Rs 1,900 crore but due to various delays, the project cost has now touched Rs 19,565 crore. The Udhampur-Katra section of the project was recently inaugurated in July 2014.


Mega Railway Projects Pending Completion
Launch Year Project Cost (Rs.Crore)
Udhampur-Qazigund-Srinagar-Baramula BG Railway Line
Bogibeel Rail-cum-Road
Bhanupalli-Bilaspur-Beri BG Railway Line
New Moynaguri-Jogighopa BG Railway Line
Katakhal-Bhairabi GC Railway Line
Munger (Monghyr) Ganga Rail-cum-Road Bridge
Khurda Road-Bolangir SL Railway Line
Seawoods-Uran Railway Line
Patna Ganga Railway Bridge
Lalitpur-Khajuraho-Satna-Rewa-Singrauli SL Railway Line
Projects launched prior to Oct 2004
Data as of 30 September 2014


Another project is the Bogibeel rail-cum-road project in Assam. The project involves laying of 46.5 km railway track and 29.5 km road. The foundation stone for the construction of the bridge was laid in April 2002. The project is being implemented by Northeast Frontier Railway at a cost of Rs 4,996 crore. As of March 2014, Rs 3,041 crore expenditure has been incurred on the Bogibeel bridge.


The Katakhal-Bhairabi GC railway line and the New Moynaguri-Jogighopa BG railway line are other Northeast railway projects which are pending for completion. The 84 km Katakhal-Bhairabi railway line which connects Mizoram to Assam, was first announced in 1997. The project involves gauge conversion of the line from MG to BG and extension of the BG line to Sairang, in Aizawl district of Mizoram. The project is estimated to cost Rs 2,393 crore. In the Rail Budget 2014-15, Rs 200 crore was allocated for the Bhairabi to Sairang section of the line.


The New Moynaguri-Jogighopa BG railway line was approved in the Railway Budget 2000-01. The Rs 2,483 crore project involves construction of a 245 km new BG railway line between New Moynaguri in West Bengal and Jogighopa in Assam. By the end of 2013-14, the project had incurred an expenditure of Rs 1,487 crore and has received a budgetary allocation of Rs 400 crore for 2014-15.


This is but a mere snapshot of the pending railway projects on the Railway Ministry’s plate. Facing a resource crunch to complete several ambitious projects across the country, Railways has now decided to complete these projects under public-private partnership (PPP) mode. Indian Railways is set to come out with a model concession agreement (MCA) for executing its projects under PPP.


Quote of the week:

  -	-	D V Sadananda Gowda, Union Minister for Railways
"Private players are coming forward in large numbers. We want to take Indian Railways to newer heights and it will not be possible without private investment. Development without private partnership will not be possible and hence, it will be allowed to a limited extent, since the previously sanctioned projects are worth Rs five lakh crore, while budgetary allocations total only Rs 60,000 crore."
- - - D V Sadananda Gowda, Union Minister for Railways


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