Railways are firming up proposals to add four more dedicated freight corridors to increase its share in the freight pie and divert loadings from roads to rail.
Currently, railways have undertaken Rs 81,459 cr projects to develop 3,342 km track comprising Eastern and Western DFC and and as per the plan, four more corridors will be constructed to ensure faster movement of goods.
Railways' loading share has fallen to 36 per cent at present as a chunk of it has been shifted to roads causing a sharp fall in its freight earnings.
The proposals to construct four more dedicated corridors for freight totalling 6672 km are likely to be part of Rail Budget 2016-17, according to a senior Railway Ministry official.
The 2,330 km long East-West Corridor (Kolkata-Mumbai), 2,343 km long North-South Corridor (Delhi-Chennai), the 1100 km long East Coast Corridor (Kharagpur-Vijaywada) and the 899 km long Southern Corridor (Chennai-Goa) are being considered to be announced by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu on February 25.
Attempts have been made to increase the rail share in loadings through various measures and DFC is one of such step in that direction, the official said.
Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation was set up by Railways in 2006 to undertake planning and development, mobilization of financial resources and construction, maintenance and operation of the Dedicated Freight Corridors.
Railways' network linking the four metropolitan cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Howrah, along with its two diagonals (Delhi-Chennai and Mumbai-Howrah) commonly known as the Golden Quadrilateral, adding up to a total route length of 10,122 km, carries more than 58 per cent of its revenue earning freight traffic. Work is going on full steam on the Eastern DFC and Western DFC.
It will be operationalised phase-wise from 2017 onwards while just 56 km long track of the Eastern DFC will open to traffic this year. Both the corridors will be completely operational in 2019.