NEW DELHI: The central government has moved one step closer to begin construction of the Rs30,000 crore dedicated freight corridor being put up by the Indian Railways.
The project, which was conceived a year ago, was in limbo because the government had been unable to fill key posts on the Railway Board. Now, it is ready to move the Union cabinet to get approval to appoint a managing director and four full-time members.
The board chairman P. Batra, said that in the interim the railways have ensured that preliminary field work does not suffer. “We (the ministry) have also formed a nucleus organisation comprising mid-rung officers so that the field work for the project is not affected,” the board chairman told reporters on the sidelines of a seminar in New Delhi.
Critics of the project have said that the railways has taken an inordinate time to appoint people for the top jobs. It is also said that many are wrangling for the top job, with several officials in Rail Bhavan itself seeking to take a tilt at it.
It has been close to a year since railway minister Lalu Prasad had announced the construction of the massive project in last year’s railway budget.
Sources said that the top jobs were almost sure to go to former Railway Board officials, who retired recently, and some of the current crop of general managers. “We will appoint only people who have proven track record in running this kind of a project,” said Batra.
According to Batra, it would be up to the new team to decide whether the track should involve private players and construct it on a build-operate-transfer basis. The chairman claimed that it would be constructed within five years of constitution of the Board.
Meanwhile, the RITES report on the freight corridor that discusses land acquisition, survey and structural engineering aspects of the project is expected to be taken up for discussion by the Planning Commission, Batra added.