Hazaribagh, May 9: North Chotanagpur commissioner Nitin Madan Kulkarni has asked the deputy commissioners of four districts to take steps for smooth acquisition of land and ensure the proposed eastern freight corridor — a showpiece project of Indian Railways — does not disturb existing infrastructure.
The Rs 24,000-crore corridor, which aims to cover 1,839km from Ludhiana in Punjab to Dankuni near Calcutta, will pass through Dhanbad, Hazaribagh, Giridih and Koderma in Jharkhand, where the railways have sought 500 acres.
Kulkarni, who shot off missives yesterday, asked DCs Manish Ranjan (Hazaribagh), Sunil Kumar Burnwal (Dhanbad), Shiv Shankar Tiwary (Koderma) and Diprava Lakra (Giridih) to get in touch with rail officials and take steps to acquire land in accordance with provisions under the Railways (Amendment) Act.
He also asked the DCs to review with railway officials the alignments of the corridor in areas falling in their districts.
He urged them to ensure the freight corridor passed through only those rural roads and highways which have overbridges so that there were no disruptions to existing networks.
The officials were also told to shift drinking water pipelines, electricity poles and wires as well as telephone cables beforehand if the corridor cut through areas comprising the utilities.
Lastly, the North Chotanagpur commissioner asked the district officials to hold monthly meetings with railway employees to review the progress and identify problems areas in the project.
A railway officer in Hazaribagh said the project would need 500 acres in the four districts, but pleaded inability to give details.
“The details of the project will be known after the DCs of the four districts meet in the coming weeks on the instructions of Kulkarni,” he added.
The rail board has set 2015 as the deadline for the completion of the eastern freight, which will carry iron, coal, cement and other minerals from Jharkhand, Bihar and Bengal to other parts of the country
The Prime Minister’s Office is monitoring the project, which will link industrial towns and mines with the eastern ports.
Railway sources said the Centre did not want any delays in the project and that the state officials had been told to monitor the land acquisition process.
One of the railway projects in Jharkhand, linking Ranchi with Koderma via Hazaribagh, has been delayed by five years with the project costs escalating from Rs 1,033 crore initially to Rs 2,500 crore.
Indian Railways have also planned a second freight corridor, estimated at Rs 26,000 crore, between New Delhi and Mumbai.