New Delhi, Dec. 26: Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee today announced three mega projects under the Rs 15,000-crore Rashtriya Rail Vikas Yojana.
Launching the project at his residence here today, he said, “Like the development of roads and highways, these projects would go a long way to strengthen, expand and modernise the rail network and connect them to the ports. Likewise, the government is also stressing on developing the civil aviation sector.”
The Yojana has four important components: upgradation and strengthening of the saturated Golden Quadrilateral and its diagonals at an estimated cost of Rs 8,000 crore, construction of four mega bridges at Patna and Munger over the Ganga, at Bogibeel over the Brahmaputra and at Nirmali over the Kosi at an estimated cost of Rs 3,650 crore. The other two components are port connectivity and development of multi-nodal rail corridor projects at an estimated cost of Rs 3,000 crore and expeditious completion of last mile projects of Rs 808 crore. Vajpayee had announced the projects on August 15 this year.
“No project should languish for want of resources. The linking of the four metros through the rail golden quadrilateral project will enhance the speed of goods trains in particular as well as passenger trains. It will also reduce pollution,” Vajpayee said.
Speaking at the launch of the project, Union railways minister Nitish Kumar said, “The Rashtriya Rail Vikas Yojana will strengthen the rail Golden Quadrilateral network between the four metros—Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Calcutta—which carry nearly 55 per cent of passenger traffic and 65 per cent of freight.”
The government is emphasising on ensuring safety and security of rail passengers and technical and administrative aspects were also being examined in full detail, Kumar said.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has already approved a loan of $ 313.6 million. A special purpose vehicle—Rail Vikas Nigam—for mobilisation of resources has already been approved and is expected to become operational soon.
Kumar said the Yojana will also ensure that inter-modal transport in takes off in a big way since projects under it aim to offer higher speed of mail/express and freight trains, rail connectivity to ports and development of corridors to the hinterland, construction of four mega bridges and accelerated completion of other important projects.
The project will also undertake doubling of the 151-km Gooty-Pullampetta line on the Mumbai-Chennai route and gauge conversion of the 305-km Gandhidham-Palanpur rail in Gujarat.
The construction of the four mega bridges are aimed at bringing social and economic benefit to the region.
“All these four bridges have economic and social significance as they would appreciably improve the social set-up in the region,” Kumar said.
The railway ministry has also asked the finance ministry to consider subsidies for the special purpose vehicle that will be set up to execute and fund these bridges.