Days after Goyal letter, 5 states clear land for dedicated freight corridor

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DFC - Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India the responsible authority for fright corridor constructions

In his letter to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Goyal had highlighted a slew of problems including pending road over bridges (ROB), hindrances in physical possession of land in areas like Muzaffarnagar, Meerut and Saharanpur among others due to agitation, arbitration cases, demand for compensation and jobs by villagers, undue demand of lease rent by the Uttar Pradesh Forest Department and protests by villagers over building of ROBs in Mirzapur district.  

Gujarat, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Punjab have expedited land acquisition process for the dedicated freight corridors, days after Railway Minister Piyush Goyal wrote to nine chief ministers, requesting them to clear hurdles in the project.In his letter, Goyal had told the chief ministers that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was closely monitoring the progress of the Rs 81,000-crore project.In a recent meeting, the Prime Minister’s Office had questioned the delay in the project, with its deadline being moved from December 2021 to June 2022.

Over the last seven days, the Railways has sorted out land acquisition issues with these five states.In Punjab, the Railways agreed to the state government’s proposal to allow it to borrow money from the Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Limited (DFCCIL) for the construction of road-under bridges, while in certain areas of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, it has coordinated with local authorities to deploy police force to deal with law and order issues.

In Punjab, the long-pending land possession issues for road under bridges and road over bridges at three locations have been resolved, Railways officials said, while land issues for construction of high tension line at two locations were resolved.In Bihar’s Rohtas district, three teams have been formed to expedite payment and taking physical possession of land, and police have been deployed at two road over bridges which have been approved, the officials said.In Jharkhand’s Giridh district, Rs 60 crore have been disbursed for land, while in Dhanbad, two acres of land which was stuck has been received.

The project requires maximum land in Uttar Pradesh.

In Kanpur, it has received the long-stuck 80-m long piece of land needed for an approach road for a road under bridge, while the remaining 40-metre will be received by September 15, the officials said.A five-km patch in Saharanpur district which was stuck for over 2.5 years due to law and order issues was also cleared and possession taken by the Railways on September 6, they said, adding similar stuck land patches in the state were also cleared.In Gujarat too, three road over bridges in Bharuch and seven in Surat have been awarded.To put the Railways’ freight project in order, Goyal held several meeting stakeholders and officials to expedite the progress and resolve critical issues of the DFC over the past 10 days.The Railway Minister had flagged issues that hampered the work on the Rs 81,000-crore dedicated freight corridors in letters to nine chief ministers, urging them to intervene. He told them that the prime minister was “monitoring the project closely”.

The DFCCIL in an internal report had cited slow progress of Road over Bridge (ROB) approaches by Uttar Pradesh where out of a total 46 ROBs, only three have been completed, 30 are in progress and work on 13 is yet to start.It had also highlighted law and order issues in Meerut, Muzaffarnagar and Saharanpur district in the eastern corridor as well as issues with slow progress of construction in Haryana and Punjab.In the Western Corridor, the DFCCIL also mentioned slow progress by the Gujarat government due to ?slow acquisition of land for approaches.In his letter to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Goyal had highlighted a slew of problems including pending road over bridges (ROB), hindrances in physical possession of land in areas like Muzaffarnagar, Meerut and Saharanpur among others due to agitation, arbitration cases, demand for compensation and jobs by villagers, undue demand of lease rent by the Uttar Pradesh Forest Department and protests by villagers over building of ROBs in Mirzapur district.

In the letter to Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, the minister had also raised concerns over land acquisition in certain stretches held up for long due to delay in disbursal of awards.The Railways is also all set to launch a dashboard to monitor the kilometre to kilometre progress of the DFC.The railway ministry said on Monday that constant weekly monitoring and meetings with all stakeholders led to acquisition of patches and sections of land which were long delayed.Indian Railways even deployed its experts to assist the contractors to tide over operational difficulties at ground level implementation, it said.

Railway Minister Piyush Goyal held a review meeting with Chief Secretaries of State Government to expedite the progress and resolve critical issues of Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC). The Minister also wrote letters to Chief Ministers of Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Bihar, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra in this regard, the statement said.The two dedicated freight corridors which are currently under construction are: the Western Dedicated Freight Corridor (WDFC) from Uttar Pradesh to Mumbai; and Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor (EDFC), from Ludhiana in Punjab to Dankuni in West Bengal.

 

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