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From Tata to L&T, big firms show interest in Sonnagar-Gomoh section: Railways

The Sonnagar-Gomoh section is expected to serve major power houses, industrial corridors and MMLPs in Haryana, Punjab, Delhi and Uttar PradeshPremium
The Sonnagar-Gomoh section is expected to serve major power houses, industrial corridors and MMLPs in Haryana, Punjab, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh

  • Indian Railways said the project will be taken up in two phases. The first is the Sonnagar-Gomoh section (262 km) and the second section is Gomoh-Dankuni (274 km)
  • The proposed section is expected to provide connectivity to the movement of freight in the region to the ports along the west coast

Several big ticket entities have shown interest in the Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor's Sonnagar-Gomoh section that is estimated to be built at a cost of 9,000 crore. As per the officials, big organizations like Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd, India Exim Bank and KPMG, infrastructure companies like L&T, GMR and TATA Projects have shown interest in Sonnagar-Gomoh section, which is expected to serve major power houses, industrial corridors and MMLPs in Haryana, Punjab, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh.

The Union Ministry of Railways had approved the Sonnagar-Dankuni section (536 km) and it forms part of the 1,875 km-long Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor (EDFC). It will be developed through the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) mode.

On Tuesday a meeting of stakeholders will be held in which firms like National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF), Edelweiss Asset Reconstruction Company Limited, HSBC, IndusInd Bank, IRCON, Adani Group and MNCs like ABB Power Products and systems India Ltd, Sojitz-India and Sojitz -Japan, RZD International LLC (100 per cent subsidiary of Russian Railway), KEC International Ltd will also participate, the Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India said in a statement.

The project will be taken up in two phases. The first is the Sonnagar-Gomoh section (262 km) and the second section is Gomoh-Dankuni (274 km).

"The Sonnagar-Gomoh section offers high traffic potential, estimated at 70 GMT in FY 2027 and increased to 128 GMT by FY 2042. Tremendous social benefit will accrue to the population in the catchment area who are engaged in agriculture, with substantial population being small traders, artisans or employed in industrial/commercial establishments.

"The implementation of the project will lead to generation of new employment opportunities both during construction and post-construction," the statement said.

It also said that the economic benefits of the project are mainly due to release of capacity from the existing lines by shifting of freight traffic from the Indian Railways to Sonnagar-Gomoh section of the EDFC and reduction of commercial vehicular traffic on road.

Railway passenger and freight traffic on existing lines will benefit from the increased speed and reduced transit time due to enhancement of route capacity on the proposed corridor, the statement said.

"The project will lead to efficient and speedy movement of goods traffic, accruing substantial improvement in turnaround time of rolling stock, resulting in saving in inventory cost. Comparative cost of rail transportation over medium and long distances is lower than the other alternative mode of road," it said.

The proposed section is expected to provide connectivity to the movement of freight in the region to the ports along the west coast. This would help in increasing the industrial activity in the project region, it added.

The Sonnagar–Gomoh section will form an integral part of the EDFC which connects Dankuni in West Bengal to Ludhiana in Punjab.

"Opportunities available to the concessionaire are lower risk to the private player due to revenue share vis-a-vis projected traffic, ease of funding with availability of 100 per cent FDI for the project. The stakeholders of the project include Central Coalfields Limited (CCL), state governments, steel manufacturers who can be looked as potential partners in the project," the statement said.

A major USP of the project is the connectivity between Eastern DFC and Western DFC at Dadri in Uttar Pradesh, enabling smooth flow of traffic from western ports to eastern parts of India.

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