Lockdown Pinches: Despite Limited Labour Availability, Railways Expedites Work On Dedicated Freight Corridors

by Arun Kumar Das - May 24, 2021 10:03 AM +05:30 IST
Lockdown Pinches: Despite Limited Labour Availability, Railways Expedites Work On Dedicated Freight CorridorsThe NTC machine.
Snapshot
  • Currently, there are 15,291 people working in the biological bubble to carry out the rail laying and other related work to make both the Eastern and Western Corridors fully operational for exclusive freight train operations in the country.

Defying heavy odds, work on the Dedicated Freight Corridor is going on with limited workforce of about 15,000, while goods trains are picking up maximum speed up to 97 kmph on the completed section.

Currently, there are 15,291 people working in the biological bubble to carry out the rail laying and other related work to make both the Eastern and Western Corridors fully operational for exclusive freight train operations in the country.

The ongoing night and weekend curfew, lockdown and other restrictions imposed in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab, Bihar, Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Gujarat due to the pandemic has adversely affected the pace of work, said a senior DFCC official.

Besides, there has been an exodus of labour after the lockdown and a severe shortage of industrial oxygen has also impacted progress of
structures.

The shortage of industrial oxygen has slowed down liner cutting, welding operations and fabrication work pertaining to shuttering etc. and splitting/cutting steel pipes for casing of gas pipelines.

However, despite all the restrictions, we have created biological bubbles to perform work, said the official.

Construction activities are permitted with observance of Covid-
appropriate behaviour.

The official said construction activities are permitted where workers are available on site.

Contractors are also facing difficulties in prestressing material coming from Mumbai as the city is under lockdown.

Movement of staff and contractual labour for operations is being allowed on passes being issued by the Railway Authority.

Passes have been issued to our staff and contractor, the official added. Trial run of 353 km of Western DFC between New Palanpur to Madar and trial run of electric loco on Eastern DFC in 100 Km New Ganj Khawaja to Chiraila Pauthu Section have been successfully done.

A total of 2,800 route km of the whole WDFC and EDFC (excluding the Sonnagar – Dankuni PPP section) is expected to be commissioned by June 2022.

Indian Railways is the lifeline of the nation and to make India a five trillion dollar economy, it is essential to develop transport networks at the same pace.

Development of transport infrastructure will give a major fillip to the growth of industries, commerce, exports and imports.

DFCC has been set up as a special purpose vehicle to undertake planning,
development, mobilization of financial resources, construction, maintenance and operation of Dedicated Freight Corridors.

In the first phase, the organisation is constructing the Western DFC (1,506 Route km) and Eastern DFC (1,875 route km including the PPP section of Sonnagar-Dankuni).

The EDFC starting from Sahnewal in Ludhiana (Punjab) will pass through the states of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand to terminate at Dankuni in West Bengal.

The Western Corridor connecting Dadri in Uttar Pradesh to Jawaharlal Nehru Port (JNPT) in Mumbai will traverse through the states of UP, Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra.

Arun Kumar Das is a senior journalist covering railways. He can be contacted at akdas2005@gmail.com.


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