Ircon's top agenda: Rs 13,000-crore rail projects to better coal traffic

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State-run Ircon International has said it would complete four railway projects by March 2023 to boost coal evacuation from states like Odisha, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh. These projects are worth over Rs 13,200 crore.

“Priority is being given to completion of these rail projects. Some of these projects for which we are representing the railways will be completed by 2020 itself. For some projects like Chhattisgarh East West Railway, we are in an advance stage of financial closure,” said S K Chaudhary, chairman and managing director of Ircon, a railway subsidiary.

The Indian Railways has lined up 84 projects with an investment of Rs 98,980 crore to help coal evacuation. Of this, 14 are being monitored by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) directly to ensure they are completed at a faster pace. According to sources, the projects taken up by Ircon are also part of this.

Coal India (CIL), Ircon International, and state governments are jointly coming up with these projects. Based on media reports, the projects in Chhattisgarh alone will help CIL subsidiary South Eastern Coalfields have access to 4,489 million tonnes of coal in Mand-Raigarh coalfield.

Ircon is taking up two projects in the state — Chhattisgarh East Rail (CERL), that will be completed in two phases from Kharsia to Dharamjaigarh (CERL-I covering 74 km to be completed by December 2020), and Dharamjaigarh to Korba (CERL-II covering 62 km to be completed by March 2022). Both these projects are expected to see investments to the tune of Rs 4,741 crore.

Another project — Chhattisgarh East-West Railway — between Gevra Road to Pendra Road, covering 35 km at a cost of Rs 4,970 crore is expected to be over by March 2022.

“For this, land acquisition is completed and forest clearances are in place. The target set for completion of the project is March 2022,” said another official close to the development.

With Mahanadi Coalfields and Odisha government, another rail project — Mahanadi Coal Railway — covering 64 km between Angul-Kalinga-Jharpada-Tentuloi at an investment of Rs 1,700 crore is being implemented. This project is expected to be completed by March 2023.

Another project with the Jharkhand government, from Shivpur to Kathautia, (49 km) will be completed by March 2023. This is expected to see investments to the tune of Rs 1,800 crore. Land acquisition for this project is expected to be over by December 2019.

Once the 14 coal projects are completed, the Indian Railways expects its coal traffic to increase to 800-1,000 mt annually from the current 555 mt.

The PMO is also monitoring the progress of the Rs 81,400 crore project of Eastern and Western dedicated freight corridors, covering a 3,360-km track.

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