THE Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by India’s prime minister, Mr Narendra Modi, has approved projects worth a total of Rs 325bn ($US 3.19bn) to lay additional tracks on seven sections of the Indian Railways’ (IR) network.

The Indian government says that it will provide 100% of the funding for the projects being taken forward by the Ministry of Railways, which aim to reduce congestion and ease train operation on the busiest sections of the IR network.

The projects are being undertaken in 35 districts in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Odisha, Jharkhand and West Bengal.

Their completion will see the total length of the IR network increase by 2339 track-km, according to the Indian government.

The projects are:

  • Gorakhpur - Cantt - Valmiki Nagar: doubling of existing line
  • Son Nagar - Andal: multi-tracking
  • Nergundi - Barang and Khurda Road - Vizianagaram: third track
  • Mudkhed - Medchal and Mahbubnagar - Dhone: doubling of existing line
  • Guntur - Bibinagar: doubling of existing line
  • Chopan - Chunar: doubling of existing line, and
  • Samakhiali - Gandhidham: quadrupling.

The Indian government says that these routes are essential for freight traffic including grain, edible oils, fertiliser, coal, cement, fly ash, iron and finished steel, clinker, limestone and crude oil.

Providing additional capacity is expected to result in an additional 200 million tonnes of freight traffic a year for IR, helping India to meet its climate change goals while reducing transport costs.

The Indian government says that the capacity improvement projects will also provide employment equivalent to 70.6 million man-days for the people of the nine states concerned.

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