NEW DELHI: Giving a big push to the infrastructure sector in the country, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved nine projects worth Rs 24,374.86 crore in nine States for expansion of railway network and connectivity across the country.
Besides facilitating travel by easing traffic bottlenecks, the approved lines would help upcoming industries and additional transport capacity to meet their requirements. The expansion programme includes 9 projects of track construction for a total length of 1937.38 km and the move aims to create a capacity to carry 1.5 billion tonne of goods by 2020.
Goods trains supplying food grains from one region to another, various industries, mines, coal fields and power plants will have additional transport capacity through these lines resulting in more revenues to Indian Railways. The nine projects include seven third line, one fourth line and one doubling and are essentially required for removing capacity constraints, reducing detention and to cater for traffic growth in future.
The projects have been cleared in Assam, Telangana, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Chhatisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand. and the expansion will benefit 11 States across Eastern, Western, Central, Northern and Southern India.
The CCEA has also approved highways project worth Rs 6,461 for development of 1120 km of National Highways in the States of Karnataka, Odisha, Bihar, Rajasthan and West Bengal. The work for development of two lane standards is under Phase-I of the National Highways Interconnectivity Improvement Project (NHIIP) with World Bank assistance.
The revised estimated cost is Rs 6,461 crore, including cost of land acquisition, resettlement and rehabilitation and other pre-construction activities. The project will ensure safe, fast and all weather movement of traffic on the proposed National Highways mostly located in backward regions thereby improving socio economic development.
The committee has given the green signal to the waiver of penal interest on Government of India (GOI) loans availed by Cochin Port Trust to the tune of Rs 897.23 crore. It also gave its approval by freezing the liability on account of GOI loans, interest thereon and penal interest at the rate of 0.25 percent as on March 31, 2016 amounting to Rs 557.16 crore. The CCEA, further approved the rescheduling of repayment of the amount frozen in 10 years commencing from 2018-19.