(Ministry of Railways)
Why in news?
Indian Railways’ new 306 km long Rewari-Madar section of the western dedicated freight corridor was inaugurated on Thursday, January 7. Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the freight corridor section through virtual conference and also flagged off the world’s first Double Stack Long Haul Container Train that is 1.5 kilometer long, between New Ateli and New Kishangarh. The Rewari-Madar section of the western dedicated freight corridor is situated in the states of Haryana (almost 79 kilometres, in the districts of Mahendragarh and Rewari) and Rajasthan (around 227 kilometers, in the districts of Jaipur, Nagaur, Ajmer, Alwar, Sikar). The section consists of nine newly built dedicated freight corridor stations.
Background of Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFCs):
- The concept of Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) was mooted in 2006 to generate substantial capacity for freight traffic by developing separate tracks on identified routes.
- The Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Ltd (DFCCIL) was incorporated as a separate company under the Ministry of Railways.
What is the DFC?
- Under the Eleventh Five Year Plan (2007–12), Railways started constructing a new DFC in two long routes, namely the Eastern and Western freight corridors.
- DFCCIL under the Ministry of Railways is a special purpose vehicle tasked with planning and completion of 3,306 kms of DFCs.
- It is headquartered in New Delhi and is a Public Sector Undertaking (PSU).
- It engages in the planning and development, deployment of monetary resources, building, upkeep, and the operation of the DFCs.
- It is a high speed and high capacity railway corridor that is exclusively meant for the transportation of freight, or in other words, goods and commodities.
- DFC involves the seamless integration of better infrastructure and state of the art technology.
DFC consists of two arms:
- Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor (EDFC):
- It starts at Sahnewal (Ludhiana) in Punjab and ends at Dankuni in West Bengal.
- The EDFC route has coal mines, thermal power plants and industrial cities. Feeder routes are also being made for these.
- The EDFC route covers Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal
- The World Bank is funding a majority of the EDFC.
- The 351-km-long ‘New Bhaupur-New Khurja section’ will decongest the existing Kanpur-Delhi main line and double the speed of freight trains from 25 kmph to 75 kmph.
- Western Dedicated Freight Corridor (WDFC):
- The other arm is the around 1,500-km WDFC from Dadri in Uttar Pradesh to Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust in Mumbai, touching all major ports along the way.
- The WDFC covers Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh.
- It is being funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency.
- Connecting Link for Eastern and Western Arm: It is under construction between Dadri and Khurja.
- The industrial corridor of Delhi-Mumbai and Amritsar-Kolkata are also being developed around both these DFCs.
Why is it important?
- Around 70% of the freight trains currently running on the Indian Railway network are slated to shift to the freight corridors, leaving the paths open for more passenger trains.
- Tracks on DFC are designed to carry heavier loads than most of the Indian Railways.
- DFC will get track access charge from the parent Indian Railways, and also generate its own freight business.
What trains will use the new section?
- Freight trains plying on this section from now on will help decongest the existing main line of Indian Railways, which currently handles trains at 150% of its line capacity.
- The new section means on the Indian Railway mainline, more passenger trains can be pumped in and those trains can, in turn, achieve better punctuality.
- Foodgrain and fertilizers from the northern region are transported to the eastern and Northeast regions.
- From East and Northeast, coal, iron ore, jute, and petroleum products are transported North and West.
- Logistics costs will be reduced.
- Higher energy efficiency.
- Faster movement of goods.
- It is environmentally friendly.
- It will provide ease of doing business.
- Helps in generating more employment.