New Delhi: The company formed by the Indian Railways to set up a so-called freight corridor connecting Kolkata, New Delhi and Mumbai is looking to hire consultants who can help it set up logistics parks along the corridor even as differences have emerged between it and its parent over land, which could delay the project that was conceived in 2005.
Dedicated Freight Corridor Corp. of India Ltd(DFCCIL, or DFC) has invited bids to hire a consultant who will help it set up logistics parks along the 3,287km line between Ludhiana in Punjab and Dankuni in West Bengal and Mumbai and Delhi.
DFC wants to set up seven logistics parks along the route, in Mumbai (Maharashtra), Vapi, Gandhidham and Ahmedabad (all in Gujarat) and Jaipur (Rajasthan) on the western corridor and Kanpur (Uttar Pradesh) and Ladhowal (Punjab) on the eastern corridor.
The parks will have facilities for storing containers and bulk commodities. They will also have hotels, banks, food parks and entertainment facilities.
Meanwhile, railway officials associated with the freight corridor project say differences have arisen between DFC and the railways over the land that is to be leased to DFC for the project.
“DFCCIL has asked for a 99-year lease which is simply unacceptable to the Railway Board,” said an officer who did not want to be named. The railways will lease out around 8,000ha to DFC for constructing the railway line. The railways usually leases out land for 30 years.
DFC managing director V.K. Kaul confirmed the company had written the Railway Board, the apex management and decision making body in the railways, asking for a 99-year lease, saying, “We are discussing with the board as to how this issue can be resolved.”
The project was conceived as a way to ease freight traffic on some of India’s busiest routes. Its cost was initially estimated at Rs28,000 crore.
The corridor will “transform the speed at which freight is carried across the country. So this project has to be on a fast-track mode and land issues need to be sorted out at the earliest”, said former Railway Board financial commissioner R. Sivadasan. “The delays could push up the costs.”