ROURKELA: The proposed east-west Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) of the Indian Railways to connect Kolkata and Mumbai through Rourkela is yet to see the light of the day. On March 5, 2016, the Union Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha while addressing a function of the Rourkela Chamber of Commerce & Industry (RCCI) had said the Eastern and Western DFCs would be completed by 2019.
The proposed Kolkata-Mumbai DFC would come up soon and would have a freight terminal at Rourkela to benefit the industrial and mining district of Sundargarh, he had said. Sinha claimed that post-Independence, Indian Railways’ passenger and freight traffic loads increased by 18 and eight times respectively, but the network grew only by 2.5 times, adding his Ministry was working towards ensuring running of goods trains on time.
South Eastern Railway (SER) sources said amid growing freight traffic on the Howrah-Mumbai route, the east-west DFC proposal envisages exclusive transportation of goods at a fast pace thereby eliminating the problem of passenger and goods trains detention due to inadequate tracks.
While laying third track between Kharagpur and Jharsuguda of Howrah-Mumbai route is underway, there has been no word from the Railway Ministry about the DFC proposal. The sources said the proposed DFC would run parallel to the existing tracks. However, land acquisition and removal of encroachment remain major concerns at Rourkela and adjacent pockets as is being seen in the case of third track laying.
The Chakradharpur division of SER on Saturday resorted to five-hour Freight Corridor Block system between Chakradhar and Jharsuguda stations to run goods train convoy to clear backlog freights.
RCCI president Subrata Patnaik said the DFC proposal through the Howrah-Mumbai main line would connect major steel plants, iron, coal and other mines in Jharkhand, Odisha, Chhattisgarh and other states. It would ensure efficient movement of goods trains on dedicated tracks which would provide new economic opportunities and substantially push industrial and economic operations at Rourkela city and rest of Sundargarh district.